In order to combat food scarcity and hunger across the world, scientists, in advance, have produced proteins with the help of electricity and carbon dioxide.
The protein can be produced anywhere renewable energy like solar energy is available so the method releases food production from restrictions related to the environment.
"In practise, all the raw materials are available from the air. In the future, the technology can be transported to, deserts and other areas facing famine," said Juha-Pekka Pitkanen, Principal Scientist at VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland.
Only electricity, water, carbon dioxide, and microbes are required for the entire process.
Raw materials are exposed to electrolysis in a bioreactor and the process forms a powder which contains more than 50 per cent protein and 25 per cent carbohydrates- changes in the texture can also be changed by altering the microbes used in the production, 'Futurism' reported.
The protein has another great benefit of being used as a fodder replacement which will help in releasing land areas for other purposes like forestry. The method allows food to be produced where it is needed, researchers said. "In the long term, protein created with electricity is meant to be used in cooking and products as it is. The mixture is very nutritious, with more than 50 per cent protein and 25 per cent carbohydrates. The rest is fats and nucleic acids," Pitkanen said.
"The consistency of the final product can be modified by changing the organisms used in the production," Pitkanen added.
According to estimates by the researchers, the process of creating food from electricity can be nearly 10 times as energy-efficient as common photosynthesis, which is used for cultivation of soy and other products.
Currently, the production of one gramme of protein takes around two weeks, using laboratory equipment that is about the size of a coffee cup, researchers said.
The next step is to produce the material in quantities sufficient for development and testing of fodder and food products. This would also allow a commercialisation to be done, researchers said.
(With PTI inputs)