All economic activities related to research, development, production, trade and consumption of plants, animals and all other living things are defined as “bioeconomy”. Scientifically bioeconomy aims at producing economical gains by generating surplus values using new methods such as biotechnology with the targeted profits of improved health, increased productivity and higher quality in agricultural and industrial production and sustainable improvements in the environment. If these activities are oriented towards agriculture and forestry are understood as GREEN, if oriented to industry as WHITE, if oriented to ocean and seas as BLUE bioeconomy. Bioeconomy is a very young concept and has begun to be used since 1990. In recent years, both the EU and the US have announced their bioeconomical plans for the future. In February 2012, the EU has announced its plan for “Sustainable Bioeconomy for Europe”, whereas US confirmed his “National Bioeconomics” project two months later. In those plans, the main target was oriented to R-D and innovations in biology. While EU is focusing to WHITE bioeconomy, the US’s plan was embracing all three types of bioeconomy.

A report of “International Food Policy Research Institute” (IFPRI), is dealing with an interesting question: of “how much agricultural production should increase towards 2050”. The report said that, the amount of today’s food should be increased by 70%. It is estimated that, the mentioned addition should be 80% for meat and 52% for grain. This means that today 260 million tons of world meat production will have to be increased to 455 million tons in 2050.

On the other hand, while the negative contribution of agriculture to the environment is expressed, the question of animal husbandry stands out. For example, while for a kilogram of vegetables 322 liters water, for a kilogram of fruit 962 liters water consumed, for a kilogram of chicken 4325 liters, for a kilogram of sheep 8763 liters, and for kilograms of beef 8763 liters water were necessary. It is important to note that, one third of the cereal produced in the world is directed to feeding animals. It cannot be said that, besides large amounts of water consumption, animal breeding is considered to be innocent of the contamination water, mixing of pathogens, metals, drug-hormone residues to water is not new. Another fact is that 80% of the antibiotics used in the US are used in animal husbandry.

80% of the agricultural land in the world is meadow – pasture. Apart from this, approximately 30% of the cultivated plant production is used for animal feeding. In case of greenhouse gas, animal breeding is responsible for 6-32%, according to different estimates.

When it comes to 2013, scientists have begun to show that meat can be produced in laboratories. Not satisfied with this, however, it has moved to commercial dimensions (Maastricht University, Netherlands, Prof. Mark Post, (company: Mosa Meat)). In the USA, companies founded in this area are commercially supported by renowned investors such as Bill Gates and Richard Bronson, as well as food giants such as Memphis Meats, Cargill, Tyson Food. It is a fact that EU companies like Nestle and Unilever will not miss this opportunity. The German PHW group has already started to purchase the Israeli new entrepreneur “Supermeat”. It seems to be moving beyond chickens and beef. “FinlessFoods” aims to utilize cell culture to artificially produce meat from the endangered red tuna species on land.

In fact, meat is mainly the composition of muscle and fat cells. They need nutrients suitable for growth and development. When we will carry out this system in the laboratory or even in larger environments, we will have healthier and safer meat, which is without antibiotics, without medicine, without drugs. These artificial products are similar to those, mentioned above because of their potential to overcome environmental negativity, cheapness, benefits to human health and protection of animal welfare. However It may take quite a while to get to the market. Although “Memphis Meats” calls “we are in the market in 2021”, it is a reality that many scientific problems are yet to be solved. At this time, another US firm “Justforall” announces that chicken meat without broiler will be on the market shelves towards the end of 2018 .

The vegetarian menu already offered by IMPOSSIBLE Burger in about 1500 restaurant in the US is not likely to be underestimated. As a meat substitute, it is interesting that the product of which the vegetable protein tissues are active, offers an equivalent flavor to the meat. The company supplies the meat color with leghemoglobin, derived from soybean roots, not from the blood. However, the plant herbal hemoglobin is low in the soybean roots, so it will be obtained from a yeast strain (Pichia pastoris) . These yeast strains of genetically modified products and are not subject to biotechnological legislation in the United States or in the EU.

In the 1900s, while a chick could only be marketed in 112 days, now it has been reduced to 45 days. Let’s see what the bioeconomy will deliver in future to us. Or will it do so? As far as the economic dimension of the event is concerned, the US lobbies (Cattlemen’s Association!) has already taken action to ban the plant-derived clean meat . Let’s not forget the success of the coal lobby in the US’s withdrawal from the Paris Climate Treaty.
Nazimi Açıkgöz
Note: This article is summarized from a paper published in the daily Turkish newspaper: Milliyet

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