|Title||Decoupling Livestock from Land Use through Industrial Feed Production Pathways|
|Author(s)||Pikaar, Ilje; Matassa, Silvio; Bodirsky, Benjamin L.; Weindl, Isabelle; Humpenöder, Florian; Rabaey, Korneel; Boon, Nico; Bruschi, Michele; Yuan, Zhiguo; Zanten, Hannah van; Herrero, Mario; Verstraete, Willy; Popp, Alexander|
|Source||Environmental Science and Technology 52 (2018)13. - ISSN 0013-936X - p. 7351 - 7359.|
Animal Production Systems
|Publication type||Refereed Article in a scientific journal|
One of the main challenges for the 21st century is to balance the increasing demand for high-quality proteins while mitigating environmental impacts. In particular, cropland-based production of protein-rich animal feed for livestock rearing results in large-scale agricultural land-expansion, nitrogen pollution, and greenhouse gas emissions. Here we propose and analyze the long-term potential of alternative animal feed supply routes based on industrial production of microbial proteins (MP). Our analysis reveals that by 2050, MP can replace, depending on socio-economic development and MP production pathways, between 10-19% of conventional crop-based animal feed protein demand. As a result, global cropland area, global nitrogen losses from croplands and agricultural greenhouse gas emissions can be decreased by 6% (0-13%), 8% (-3-8%), and 7% (-6-9%), respectively. Interestingly, the technology to industrially produce MP at competitive costs is directly accessible for implementation and has the potential to cause a major structural change in the agro-food system.