Pond scum could help feed the world

[USA] Have you ever heard of “pond scum?” It’s essentially an algae gunk that can be turned into oil, and it could help feed the world in the future.

The need for alternative food sources has never been greater.

“When you have an inverted demographic permit, the social safety net will not hold. The full gravity of this is not well understood, but it will become a severe, severe issue in the next few decades,” said Elon Musk of Tesla and SpaceX.

A possible solution — edible algae oil.

“When the population continues to grow, we’re gonna need new sources of protein,” explained Peter Lecari or Solazyme. We can start from a single cell and generate hundreds of these vials, so we have an endless supply of oil from a single cell.”

“So you don’t have to worry about the quantities you find in these algae cells,” I asked.

“Right. That’s right,” said Lecari.

“So we have a bunch of different products that we make from microalgae,” added Mark Broks of Solazyme. Some of what we have is just dried algae, which as you can see is beautiful yellow color.”

“Right, it’s not green,” I said.

“It’s not green,” Broks said.

“When I think of algae, I think green,” I said.

“It’s yellow because it contains gluten,” explained Broks. “We are trying o replace just food and empty calories with great nutrition.”

In order to reach those who need great nutrition, Solazyme will have to jump two major hurdles. One, set up these algae fermentation tanks in remote areas of the world. And two, get people to find algae oil appetizing.

“Innovation in food is very, very rare,” said Broks. “With these ingredients, we can up the nutrition value. If you are looking at billions more people, you need a breakthrough ingredient, and this one is the world’s oldest source of nutrition, being re-purposed to solve today’s problems.”

 

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