Newsletter Editorial, February 2021
The global food system is facing pressure from multiple directions.
In the western world, we increasingly pay attention to how the potatoes, apples or fish on our plates are produced. At the same time, the world population is growing, which increases the demand for food.
Biotechnology plays an important role in ensuring that we can feed the world in a safe and environmentally sustainable way. The development of alternative protein products by fermentation is one way, but the feedstocks to fermentation are agricultural products or waste streams of food production. This means that increasing the sustainability of agriculture itself through biotechnology is key.
One approach is to substitute chemical pesticides and fertilizers with biological products such as biopesticides and biostimulants that are considered to be safer for both the environment and humans. However, biological replacements of pesticides and fertilizers tend to have higher production costs, unclear regulatory guidelines, and often lower efficiencies than their chemical counterparts.
Overcoming these challenges requires combining cutting-edge science with technological development which has already resulted in significant market growth.
Northern Europe has the potential to become a global player in this space. The fermentation-based industry in Northern Europe is already in a leadership position and hungry for new product opportunities. At the same time, European universities are world leaders in applied microbiology and fermentation sciences.
BioInnovation Institute is keen to foster this development in agricultural biotechnology through programs and funding, and we are happy to announce the first agriculture-related project in BII.
The Faculty project led by Prof. Karsten Kristiansen from the University of Copenhagen aims to develop microbial communities as a product for controlling plant pathogens. If this project succeeds, the food on our plates can be produced without the use of chemical pesticides and at a reasonable cost.
CTO, BioInnovation Institute