Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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    The role of fisheries and aquaculture in a circular food system
    Hal, O. van; Boer, I.J.M. de; Ziegler, Friederike ; Schrama, J.W. ; Kuiper, Kiki ; Zanten, H.H.E. van - \ 2020
    In: WIAS Annual Conference 2020. - WIAS - p. 46 - 46.
    Recent studies show that animals fed solely with low-opportunity-cost feeds (LCF), products currently considered unsuitable or undesired for human consumption, can contribute significantly to human nutrient supply. So far, studies on the role of animals in such a circular food system focussed on livestock, while fish can make a valuable contribution through their supply of animal-source food (ASF) rich in essential ω-3 fatty acids (ω-3EFA). Here we assessed the potential contribution of capture fisheries and aquaculture (i.e. farmed salmon and tilapia) to a circular food system, using the EU-28 as a case study. The contribution of fisheries was assessed through multiple sustainable fisheries scenarios. The contribution of aquaculture was determined by the availability of LCF and their competitive advantage in upcycling them compared to livestock. Such advantages are the supply of ω-3EFA in fish,a high feed efficiency and legality to feed processed animal proteins banned as livestock feed. Aquaculture’s contribution was assessed with an optimisation model that allocates LCF available in the EU to that combination of animals that maximises human digestible protein (HDP) supply, given that human population requirements regarding vitamin B12and ω-3EFA are met. Results show that in the proposed circular food system, fish consumption(20 g/cap/d), aquaculture production (2.8 million tonne fish meat) and food supply from EU fisheries (4.5 g/cap/d) are higher than currently in the EU. Fish provided all ω-3EFA,of which 55% through farmed salmon, which depended on fisheries for ω-3EFA containing feed. Overcoming this dependency on fisheries for ω-3EFA is essential for nutrition security.While aquaculture is essential to ω-3EFA supply and able to upcycle animal based LCF,livestock, especially dairy cattle, is more efficient at protein provision. Under the abundant protein supply in the EU, however, the ability to supply essential nutrients that can only be derived from ASF (e.g. ω-3EFA) is more valuable and should be prioritised. Fish, therefore,belongs to balanced diets with respect for our planet, which requires a combination of livestock and fish production systems, that use available LCF efficiently.
    Accounting for feed-food competition in environmental impact assessment: Towards a resource efficient food-system
    Hal, O. van; Weijenberg, A.A.A. ; Boer, I.J.M. de; Zanten, H.H.E. van - \ 2019
    Journal of Cleaner Production 240 (2019). - ISSN 0959-6526
    Circular food system - Egg production - Feed-food competition - Life cycle assessment - Livestock production - Sustainable food production

    This study demonstrates the effect of better accounting for feed-food competition in life cycle assessment (LCA) to derive mitigation strategies that contribute to efficiently feeding the growing world population. Economic allocation, commonly used in LCA, falls short in accounting for feed-food competition as it does not consider interlinkages in the food system. The authors hypothesise that an alternative “food-based” allocation better accounts for food-feed competition by assigning no environmental impact to feed products unfit for human consumption. To evaluate the impact of accounting for feed-food competition on LCA results, economic and food-based allocation were compared in an LCA of a novel egg production system that feeds only products unsuitable or undesired for human consumption. Using economic allocation, the global warming potential (GWP) of 1.30 kg CO2-eq, energy use (EU) of 10.49 MJ, land use (LU) of 2.90 m2, and land use ratio (LUR) of 1.56 per kg egg of the case study farm were all lower than that of free range or organic eggs. Avoiding feed-food competition on this farm reduced the environmental impact per kg egg by 56–65% for GWP, 46–54% for EU, 35–48% for LU and 88% for LUR, compared to free-range laying hens fed a conventional diet. Accounting for feed-food competition with food-based allocation further reduced impacts per kg egg by 44% for GWP to 0.57 kg CO2-eq, 38% for EU to 4.05 MJ, 90% for LU to 2.59 m2, and 83% for LUR to 1.29. This improved LCA better captures the complexity of the food system.

    Upcycling food leftovers and grass recources through farm animals
    Hal, O. van; Boer, I.J.M. de; Muller, A. ; Vries, S. de; Erb, K. ; Schader, Christian ; Zanten, H.H.E. van - \ 2019
    In: Book of Abstracts of the 70th Annual Meeting of the European Federation of Animal Science. - Wageningen Academic Publishers (EAAP book of abstracts ) - ISBN 9789086863396 - p. 316 - 316.
    Report on T5.4: Sustainability impacts of potential innovations in the supply chain of livestock and fish, and fruit and vegetables, and sustainable future diets : Deliverable No. D5.4
    Zanten, H.H.E. van; Hal, O. van; Ziegler, F. ; Hornborg, Sara ; Latka, Catharina ; Parodi Parodi, Alejandro ; Achterbosch, T.J. ; Bianchi, Marta ; Boer, I.J.M. de; Borthwick, Louisa ; Burgstaller, Elke ; Heckelei, Thomas ; Leip, Adrian ; Valin, H. - \ 2019
    SUSFANS - 84 p.
    Avoiding feed-food competition in practice; Environmental impact assessment of a novel egg production system
    Hal, O. van; Weijenberg, Adinda ; Boer, I.J.M. de; Zanten, H.H.E. van - \ 2019
    In: Trade-Offs in Science - Keeping the balance. - Wageningen University & Research - p. 42 - 43.
    Feed cultivation on arable land (40% globally) results in less efficient food production than food crop cultivation. This inefficiency can be avoided using livestock feeds that do not compete with food production, so called “low-opportunity-cost feedstuffs” (e.g. food by-products & waste and grazing resources). livestock, then, converts nutrients otherwise lost to the food system into valuable food. While this new role of livestock is theoretically well supported, its practical feasibility remains unstudied. We, therefore, assessed the environmental benefits of feeding only “low-opportunity-cost feed-stuffs” to industrially-housed laying hens on the commercial Kipster farm. Simultaneously we underline the shortcomings of conventional methods to account for such benefits. We quantified global warming potential, energy use and land use per kg egg, using life cycle assessment (LCA), Kipster eggs have a lower environmental impact (1.3 kg CO2-eq; 10 MJ; 2.9 m2), than free range and organic eggs (2.5-3.5 kg CO2-eq; 19-27 MJ; 4.1-6.8 m2), mainly due to the use of “low-opportunity-cost feedstuffs”. Additionally, we illustrate that economic allocation used in LCA does not fully account for the environmental benefits of feeding “low-opportunity-cost feedstuffs”, as it ignores interlinkages in the food system between, for example, sugar and beet pulp. Alternative circular allocation – allocating the full impact to the main product – reduces Kipsters environmental impact with 44% for GWP, 37% for EU and 90% for LU. Adequately capturing such complexities of the food system in LCA is of major importance to avoid promotion of mitigation measures that counteract resource use efficiency of the entire food system.
    Upcycling food leftovers and grass resources through livestock: Impact of livestock system and productivity
    Hal, O. van; Boer, I.J.M. de; Muller, A. ; Vries, S. de; Erb, K.H. ; Schader, C. ; Gerrits, W.J.J. ; Zanten, H.H.E. van - \ 2019
    Journal of Cleaner Production 219 (2019). - ISSN 0959-6526 - p. 485 - 496.
    Circular food system - Feed-food competition - Food waste - Livestock production - Nutrition security - Resource use efficiency

    Consumption of animal-source food is criticised, among other reasons, for its relatively high environmental impact. It is, however, increasingly acknowledged that livestock can contribute to nutrition security if they upcycle low-opportunity-cost feed (LCF) – food waste, food processing by-products and grass resources – into nutritious animal-source food. So far, however, no study explored the allocation question “to which livestock should we feed what LCF to maximise livestock's contribution to human nutrition”. Here we optimise the use of the LCF available in the EU, using a model that assigns LCF to those livestock systems that maximise animal protein production. We included the five most common livestock systems in the EU – pigs, laying hens, broilers, dairy cattle and beef cattle – considering their nutrient requirements under three productivity levels (low, mid and high). LCF availability is based on current food supply combined with food wastage and food processing data, and current grassland productivity. Our results showed that optimal conversion of LCF available in the EU, could supply 31 g animal protein per EU capita per day. We confirmed that this optimal conversion requires a variety of both livestock systems and productivity levels. Dominant livestock systems were those that have a high conversion efficiency (laying hens, dairy cattle), were best able to valorise specific LCF (dairy cattle for grass; pigs for food waste), and could valorise low quality LCF because of their low productivity. Limiting the model to use only conventional, high productive, livestock reduced animal protein supply by 16% to 26 g/(cap*d). Besides the efficiency with which livestock used the available LCF, the estimated protein supply from livestock fed solely on LCF, was sensitive to assumptions regarding the availability and quality of LCF, especially grass resources. Our model provides valuable insights into how livestock can efficiently use LCF, which is essential for a transition towards a circular food system.

    Valuing leftover streams through livestock: impact of livestock system and productivity level
    Hal, O. van; Zanten, H.H.E. van; Schader, Christian ; Muller, A. ; Gerrits, W.J.J. ; Vries, S. de; Boer, I.J.M. de - \ 2018
    In: WIAS Science Day 2018. - - p. 35 - 35.
    Valuing leftover streams through livestock; the impact of livestock system and productivity level
    Hal, O. van; Boer, I.J.M. de; Schader, Christian ; Muller, Adrian ; Gerrits, W.J.J. ; Vries, S. de; Zanten, H.H.E. van - \ 2018
    In: 11th International Conference on Life Cycle Assessment of Food 2018 (LCA Food). - - p. 123 - 123.
    While the role of livestock in sustainable food systems is heavily debated, recent studies show that livestock can contribute to global nutrition security by converting leftover streams – products humans cannot or do not want to eat – into animal-source food (ASF). Where these studies clearly underpin livestock’s role in global food security, the current study aims to identify which combination of livestock systems, differing in production level, can optimally convert leftover streams into protein. To this end, we developed an optimization model containing a variety of livestock systems (pigs, dairy cattle, beef cattle, laying hens and broilers), differing in production level (low, mid and high), to enable better utilization of the various (low quality) leftovers. Included leftover streams consist of waste and processing co- products related to current food consumption in the EU and currently available grazing resources in the EU. The optimal use of these leftover streams requires mainly low productive dairy cattle, and provides 30 g animal protein/cap/day. Although this protein supply fulfils half of our daily protein requirement, it requires a shift in consumption patterns and farming practices. This study illustrates that using leftover streams optimally, improves the role of livestock in nutrition security.
    Defining a land boundary for sustainable livestock consumption
    Zanten, Hannah H.E. van; Herrero, Mario ; Hal, Ollie van; Röös, Elin ; Muller, Adrian ; Garnett, Tara ; Gerber, Pierre J. ; Schader, Christian ; Boer, Imke J.M. De - \ 2018
    Global Change Biology 24 (2018)9. - ISSN 1354-1013 - p. 4185 - 4194.
    animal source food - greenhouse gas emissions - land boundary - land use - leftovers - livestock - recycling biomass - sustainable consumption - sustainable development goals

    The need for more sustainable production and consumption of animal source food (ASF) is central to the achievement of the sustainable development goals: within this context, wise use of land is a core challenge and concern. A key question in feeding the future world is: how much ASF should we eat? We demonstrate that livestock raised under the circular economy concept could provide a significant, nonnegligible part (9–23 g/per capita) of our daily protein needs (~50–60 g/per capita). This livestock then would not consume human-edible biomass, such as grains, but mainly convert leftovers from arable land and grass resources into valuable food, implying that production of livestock feed is largely decoupled from arable land. The availability of these biomass streams for livestock then determines the boundaries for livestock production and consumption. Under this concept, the competition for land for feed or food would be minimized and compared to no ASF, including some ASF in the human diet could free up about one quarter of global arable land. Our results also demonstrate that restricted growth in consumption of ASF in Africa and Asia would be feasible under these boundary conditions, while reductions in the rest of the world would be necessary to meet land use sustainability criteria. Managing this expansion and contraction of future consumption of ASF is essential for achieving sustainable nutrition security.

    Valuing leftover streams through livestock : impact of livestock system and productivity level
    Hal, O. van; Zanten, H.H.E. van; Schader, Christian ; Müller, A. ; Gerrits, W.J.J. ; Vries, S. de; Boer, I.J.M. de - \ 2018
    - 1 p.
    The role of livestock in sustainable food systems is heavily debated. Recent studies, however, show that livestock can contribute to global nutrition security by converting leftover streams – products humans cannot or do not want to eat – into animal-source food (ASF). Where these studies underpin livestock’s role in global food security, the current study aims to identify which combination of livestock systems, differing in production level, can optimally convert leftover streams into animal protein. To this end, we developed an optimisation model containing a variety of livestock systems (pigs, dairy cattle, beef cattle, laying hens and broilers), differing in production level (low, mid and high), to enable better utilisation of the various (low quality) leftovers. Leftover streams included food waste and food processing co-products related to current EU food consumption, and currently available grazing resources in the EU. Optimal conversion of leftovers results in a protein supply of 39 g/cap/day – 60% of daily protein requirements – from ASF (mainly milk). This protein supply is higher than found in previous studies (7-27 g/cap/day) indicating the importance of optimising the role of livestock production. Our results showed that dairy production is most efficient in converting a combination of leftovers and grass resources into animal protein. This however, requires a shift in consumption patterns towards more dairy and less meat. Maintaining current ASF ratios reduces the amount of animal protein available to 26 g/cap/day. This study, therefore, illustrates that using leftover streams optimally improves the role of livestock in nutrition security.
    Valuing leftover streams through livestock : impact of livestock system and productivity level
    Hal, O. van; Zanten, H.H.E. van; Schader, C. ; Mueller, A. ; Gerrits, W.J.J. ; Boer, I.J.M. de - \ 2017
    The role of livestock in sustainable food systems is heavily debated nowadays. Recent studies, however, show that livestock can significantly contribute to global nutrition security by converting leftover streams – products humans cannot or do not want to eat – into nutritious animal-source food (ASF). They conclude that feeding livestock on only leftover streams can provide 7-27 g of animal protein per capita per day. Where these studies clearly underpin livestock’s role in global food security, the current study aims to identify which combination of livestock systems, differing in production level, can optimally convert leftover streams into protein. To this end, we developed an optimization model containing a variety of livestock systems (pigs, dairy cattle, beef cattle, laying hens and broilers), differing in production level (low, mid and high), to enable better utilisation of the various (low quality) leftovers. Included leftover streams consist of food waste and food processing co-products related to the current food consumption in the EU – according to FAO’s food balance sheets – and currently available grazing resources in the EU.
    Optimal conversion of leftovers results in a protein supply of 39 g/cap/day – 60% of daily protein requirements – from ASF (mainly milk). This protein supply is higher than found in previous studies (7-27 g/cap/day) due to high assumed availability of coproducts and the inclusion of waste and grazing resources from arable land. Maintaining current animal product ratios reduces the amount of animal protein available to 26 g/cap/day, due to the use of relatively inefficient livestock systems that are unable to value grass. This study, therefore, illustrates that using leftover streams optimally improves the role of livestock in nutrition security. This does, however, require livestock systems to shift to dairy production under various productivity levels.
    Deliverable No. 4.1: The drivers of livestock production in the EU
    Zanten, H.H.E. van; Hal, O. van; Boer, I.J.M. de - \ 2016
    SUSFANS - 66 p.
    In the last decades the demand for animal source food (ASF) has increased. In response to a rising demand for ASF, animal numbers and animal productivity increased, due to science and technological developments. Currently we see that the demand for ASF is stagnating or decreasing due to socio-economic factors like environmental concerns, human health concerns and changing socio-cultural values (animal welfare). Given current high consumption levels of ASF in Europe, two main strategies can be followed to come to healthy and sustainable diets: reducing the impact of livestock production per kg of output by sustainable intensification, or improve human health and the environment by changing dietary patterns.
    How much animal-source food can we produce while avoiding feed-food competition?
    Hal, O. van; Boer, I.J.M. de; Zanten, H.H.E. van - \ 2016
    In: Book of Abstracts of the 10th international conference on Life Cycle Assessment of Food. - - 5 p.
    land use, feed-food competition, livestock, food-waste, marginal land
    Livestock directly contribute to food supply by providing essential nutrients to humans, and indirectly support cultivation of food crops by providing manure and draft power. Livestock, however, also consume humanedible food or graze on land suitable for cultivation of food crops. As we face the challenge of feeding 9.7 billion people by 2050, preferably without expanding the amount of agricultural land, there is an increasing need to avoid competition for land between animals and humans. We performed a review on studies that provide insight into the amount of animal-source food (ASF) produced without feed-food competition. So called default livestock are only fed with co-products, food-waste, crop-residues, or biomass from grazing land. Results showed, that between 7 g and 27 g of animal source protein per person per day can be produced from default livestock. On average, it is recommended to consume about 57 g of protein from ASF or plant-origin per person per day. Although ASF from default livestock does not fulfil the current global animal protein consumption of 32 g per person per day, about one third of the protein each person needs can be produced without competition for land between feed and food production. Default livestock, therefore, can have an important contribution to the future nutrition supply.
    How much animal-source food can we produce while avoiding feed-food competition
    Zanten, H.H.E. van; Hal, O. van; Boer, I.J.M. de - \ 2016
    In: Book of Abstracts of the 67st Annual Meeting of the European Federation of Animal Science. - Wageningen : Wageningen Academic Publishers - p. 102 - 102.
    Livestock directly contribute to food supply by providing essential nutrients to humans, and indirectly support
    cultivation of food crops by providing manure and draft power. Livestock, however, also consume humanedible
    food or graze on land suitable for cultivation of food crops. As we face feeding 9.7 billion people by
    2050, preferably without expanding the amount of agricultural land, there is an increasing need to avoid
    competition for land between animals and humans. We performed a review on studies that provide insight into
    the amount of animal-source food (ASF) produced without feed-food competition. So called default livestock
    are only fed with co-products, food-waste, crop-residues, or biomass from grazing land. Results showed, that
    between 7 g and 27 g of animal source protein per person per day can be produced from default livestock.
    Considering feed-food crops and feeding food-waste had an important contribution in this. Considering feedfood
    crops implies that choices have to be made between different crops, based on their contribution to feed
    and food production. Oil production from soy cultivation, for example, resulted in the co-product SBM. The
    practice of feeding food-waste to livestock is currently prohibited but shows potential in extensively reducing
    the environmental impact of livestock production. Considering feed-food crops and feeding food-waste are
    examples of mitigation strategies that currently can be implemented to reduce the environmental impact of
    the livestock sector. In mixed crop-livestock systems, particularly in developing countries, considering feedfood
    crops and using food-waste are embedded in production system, and can, therefore, be an example. In
    general a paradigm shift is needed: research should no longer focus on increasing efficiency of the animal or
    the animal production chain, but on increasing efficiency of the entire food system. Although ASF produced
    from default livestock, does not fulfil the current demand for ASF, about one third of the protein each person
    needs can be produced without competition for land between feed and food production. Livestock, therefore,
    does have an important contribution to future nutrition supply.
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