How can we do away with all the food problems we experience today? From seemingly 'simple' ones like spoiled processed foods, or the need and desire to eat more healthy food to really complex ones, like combatting the famine as well as reducing the emission of Greenhouse Gases that comes from the meat industry, for example. Making it out of practically nothing would be a good solution, but so far that has remained in the realms of good science fiction novels. But are a team of Finnish scientists and researchers on the way to turn science fiction into a good, solid, reality that can be a solution to all of these problems?

All it takes is some carbon dioxide, microbes...

It can be done and now it has been done! A research team from two university and research institutions in Finland were recently able to produce single-cell protein nutritious enough to be ready to serve as a replacement for any meal.

In coming up with their batch of proteins that currently looks like a crushed granola flakes, the Finnish scientists used only electricity, water, carbon dioxide and microbes. To top it off, the whole production system was powered by renewable energy. As the scientists stated, this process is actually 10-times more energy efficient than the photosynthesis of plants.

As Juha-Pekka Pitkanen, one of the principals of the project said, the whole system is yet to be optimized. Currently, the bioreactor which is approximately the size of an ordinary coffee cup used to produce the protein can come up with one gram of protein in two weeks. According to his predictions, it would take about a decade to come up with a more efficient food production that would reach commercial capacity and all that is involved in this process.

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It certainly is not gourmet yet

This and other similar projects are in line with predictions like that of "Metalworks", R&D branch of the media agency Maxus which in its report from 2015 says that in the coming decades, technology will redefine the food and drinks industry. While the 'electric food' the Finnish scientists came up with might not be exactly gourmet yet, nor will it soon become a staple in every home, it can certainly represent a good step in the right direction. First of all, it can be a good and quick food solution to long space travels, and more importantly, a good counter to famine.

According to Pitkanen, such bioreactor technology could be quickly transported to deserts and regions not suitable to agricultural production and can represent a source of cheap and quite nutritious food. What is also important, it can decrease the unsustainable forms of farming with a smaller and cheaper as well as renewable method of providing food. Also, it can potentially decrease the emission of greenhouse gases, reducing the demand for food livestock and the crops to feed them.

The fact is that currently, the meat industry is responsible for anywhere between 14 and 18% emissions of these gases. What about the more 'mundane' thing as the taste and the look of such food, it certainly doesn't seem like a priority at the moment, but it will be something that will be taken care of too.