Butter made with CO2: will food technology save the environment?

In recent years, technology has entered the food field. With the promise of revolutionizing not so much the way we eat, but food itself. While agriculture can be questioned for its environmental impact, in most cases it is a question of moving away from livestock farming by turning to synthetic alternatives.

A manufacturing process very far from the classic version of butter

This is the case of Savor, an American company with Bill Gates among its investors, which is tackling fat. It aims to become the first brand to market a synthetic foodstuff: butter. But here, there is no question of raising cows, producing milk and then working it, indicates New Scientist. The recipe focuses mainly on carbon, which undergoes thermochemical treatment.

The rest under this advertisement


Nature takes its time…
like this ad!


Nature takes its time…
like this ad!

Discovering Corsican gastronomy

Thus, the dependence on the animal world disappears in favor of coal, methane or even carbon dioxide (CO2). These elements are used to create a synthesis gas (mixture of carbon monoxide and hydrogen) which is itself transformed into long-chain hydrocarbons before being oxygenated to give way to fatty acids.

The next step is to add glycerol to form triglycerides, a form of fat. All Savor has to do now is add the final ingredients: water and an emulsifier, then beta-carotene (a photosynthetic pigment known as “provitamin A”) to give the mixture its color and rosemary oil for flavor. Savor’s technical director, Kathleen Alexander, assures us: “It tastes like butter.”

The rest under this advertisement


Nature takes its time…
like this ad!

Synthetic butter sees its carbon footprint halved

Above all, the maneuver has a strong ecological impact. According to the manager:

“In an emergency, these products could feed the entire planet for a very long time.”

Butter is one of the most expensive fats, so the company has set its sights on it, hoping to compete with the conventional commodity’s production costs. But the main barrier so far remains regulatory approvals to sell its product.

One of Savor’s main arguments for entering supermarket shelves is the benefit to the planet that its products represent. By doing away with conventional fat, it is possible to reallocate livestock or crop land to maximize carbon conservation and storage.

The rest under this advertisement


Nature takes its time…
like this ad!


Nature takes its time…
like this ad!

In total, a study published last year (and co-authored by Kathleen Alexander) assures that synthetic fats constitute a carbon footprint half that of fats from the conventional agricultural sector.

Meat cells subjected to electronic nose to simulate flavors

Food could therefore participate in the ecological transition effort of countries. Scientists seem to be taking up this theme. In South Korea, a team from Yonsei University in Seoul is working to make cultured meat as good as real meat, explains CNN.

Yonsei University’s synthetic meat may taste good, but it’s far from being like conventional meat. Yonsei University Seoul

The rest under this advertisement


Nature takes its time…
like this ad!

“Flavor is the most important element for cultured meat to be accepted as real”says Milae Lee, a doctoral student in Yonsei’s department of chemical and biomolecular engineering and co-author of a study.

To deceive consumers, the cultured cells – not yet edible – are subjected to an electronic nose. It is thus not by taste but by smell that the researchers test their advances and compare them to real pieces of meat.

The only downside is that the result currently takes the form of a pink jelly. Far from the appearance of a steak, but also far from being appetizing. Proof that the nutritional transition will be a project at least as complex as the environmental transition.

-

-

PREV Emirati e& is studying “all options” regarding its investment in Maroc Telecom
NEXT Banks can hold their customers liable for fraud. Here are the cases in which they do so.