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Ioannis Zabetakis

Food security and climate change

ver the past weeks, there were some rather disappointing developments on climate change and related politics and politicians. The US has now opted out of the Paris Accord Agreement. The UK’s prime minister has failed to react strongly to that decision of the Trump’s administration making a lot of people wondering where UK’s government stands today. Let’s have a look though why we need to bother about these developments. One of the most urgent problems that we need to face is the one of food security; i.e. Food Security (FS) stands for the production of nutritious food that is enough to feed all people on Earth. FS has two dimensions: 1. Nutritional value of the produced food 2. Sustainable production of food Climate Change (CC) is a huge problem that we face as food scientists. CC makes the food production more difficult and more expensive. Therefore, CC is a huge obstacle in our attempts to increase FS. Denial of CC is major political and scientific nonsense! Denial of CC jeopardises FS, in other words it may put human lives at risk. This risk is related to famine, malnutrition or even death. Therefore, in our opinion, denying CC and Paris agreement is simply wrong and inhuman! On top of these developments, the recent elections in UK have brought some further developments that are related to CC and FS. At the moment (as these lines are being written), it looks like that UK will have a Tories-DUP government with Michael Gove as Environment Minister. Theresa May’s choice of Mr Gove is rather surprising because she sacked him as Education Secretary last year. Past record of Mr Gove is not promising: his voting record reveals he has generally opted against ecofriendly measures, such as reduction in carbon emissions and financial incentives for low carbon emission electricity generation. On the other hand, the DUP’s political views on CC are rather alarming. While climate change scepticism is not official party “policy”, the DUP has previously appointed a denier as environment minister in Northern Ireland, and it counts a number of creationists (i.e. deniers of the evolution theory) among its senior members. Friends of the Earth has expressed concern that the Democratic Unionists will exercise major national influence over the government even though some of the party’s MPs are climate change sceptics. The most vociferous doubter of climate change is the DUP’s East Antrim MP, Sammy Wilson. He has described the theory of manmade climate change as a “con”. James Orr, Friends of the Earth’s Northern Ireland director, said: “Their manifesto had hardly a positive word on the environment and nothing at all on climate change. Theresa May must not allow the DUP to further weaken her already inadequate manifesto commitments to maintain environmental protections and preserve nature”. Both the US and the UK have a strong role as leading countries in promoting science that serves the people and respect the environment. Will the current administrations in these countries show such commitment? @yanzabet Ioannis.zabetakis@ul.ie

Currently working on Food Lipids at the University of Limerick, Ireland, focusing on feeds, food and nutraceuticals against inflammation, Ioannis is a co-inventor in two patents, has edited a book on marine oils, and has published more than 60 peer-reviewed articles (h-index 19). He is currently writing a book on "The Impact of Nutrition and Statins on Cardiovascular Diseases" for Elsevier. 6 | July 2017 - International Aquafeed

Breakthrough omega-3 investments

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vonik and Royal DSM will locate the commercial-scale production facility for their omega-3 fatty acids from natural marine algae for animal nutrition in Blair, Nebraska. They plan to invest around US$200 million in the facility over two years. The initial annual production capacity will meet roughly 15 percent of the current total annual demand for EPA and DHA by the salmon aquaculture industry. Facility expected in 2019 The facility is expected to come on stream in 2019. The establishment of the joint venture, to be named Veramaris and based in The Netherlands, will be finalised subject to regulatory approvals. Blair, Nebraska was chosen as it uses Evonik’s operational experience for large-scale biotechnology operations. The company has been operating a facility there for the fermentative production Biolys – the amino acid L-lysine – for almost 20 years. The new plant will be located adjacent to the current facility on Cargill’s site, with established access to the raw materials needed to produce the high value and pure EPA+DHA omega-3 fatty acid oil. For the first time, the production of the omega-3 for animal nutrition comes without using any fish oil from wild caught fish, a finite resource. The initial applications will be in salmon aquaculture and pet food. The highly concentrated algal oil will enable the industry to keep up with the increasing demand for these two essential omega-3 fatty acids without endangering fish stocks. This will help to contribute to healthy animal nutrition as well as the ecological balance and biodiversity of the oceans. Until the facility in Blair opens, the companies will produce pilotscale quantities of the product at a current facility in Kingstree, South Carolina, US. Customers will be able to receive sizable quantities of the product for market development while construction gets underway.

Jul 2017 - International Aquafeed magazine  
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