Monday January 22, 2018

Consuming Insects such as Crickets and Mealworms may help cut Harmful Emissions: Study

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Mealworms, Wikimedia
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London, May 5, 2017: Consuming insects such as crickets and mealworms, instead of beef could help tackle climate change by reducing harmful emissions linked to livestock production, new research suggests.

The study, published in the journal Global Food Security, showed that replacing half of the meat eaten worldwide with crickets and mealworms would cut farmland use by a third, substantially reducing emissions of greenhouse gases.

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“A mix of small changes in consumer behaviour, such as replacing beef with chicken, reducing food waste and potentially introducing insects more commonly into diets, would help achieve land savings and a more sustainable food system,” said lead author Peter Alexander from the University of Edinburgh in Britain.

Further, consuming insects and imitation meat — such as soybean-based foods like tofu — are the most sustainable as they require the least land and energy to produce. Beef is by far the least sustainable, Alexander said.

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Lab-grown meat was also found to be no more sustainable than chicken or eggs, requiring an equivalent area of land but using more energy in production.

For the study, the team used data collected primarily by the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation and compared the environmental impacts of conventional meat production with those of alternative sources of food.

In addition, halving global consumption of animal products by eating more insects or imitation meat would free up 1,680 million hectares of land, the researchers said. (IANS)

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Climate change can have an effect on the taste of the wines

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Climate change can have an effect on the taste of the wine
Climate change can have an effect on the taste of the wine. wikimedia commons

New York, Jan 3, 2018: Although winegrowers seem reluctant to try new grape varieties apparently to protect the taste of the wines, new research suggests that they will ultimately have to give up on their old habit as planting lesser-known grape varieties might help vineyards to counteract some of the effects of climate change.

vineyards. wikimedia commons

“It’s going to be very hard, given the amount of warming we’ve already committed to… for many regions to continue growing the exact varieties they’ve grown in the past,” said study co-author Elizabeth Wolkovich, Assistant Professor at Harvard University.

“With continued climate change, certain varieties in certain regions will start to fail — that’s my expectation,” she said.

The study, published in the journal Nature Climate Change, suggests that wine producers now face a choice — proactively experiment with new varieties, or risk suffering the negative consequences of climate change.

“The Old World has a huge diversity of wine grapes — there are overplanted 1,000 varieties — and some of them are better adapted to hotter climates and have higher drought tolerance than the 12 varieties now making up over 80 per cent of the wine market in many countries,” Wolkovich said.

“We should be studying and exploring these varieties to prepare for climate change,” she added.

Unfortunately, Wolkovich said, convincing wine producers to try different grape varieties is difficult at best, and the reason often comes down to the current concept of terroir.

Terroir is the notion that a wine’s flavour is a reflection of where which and how the grapes were grown.

Thus, as currently understood, only certain traditional or existing varieties are part of each terroir, leaving little room for change.

The industry — both in the traditional winegrowing centres of Europe and around the world — faces hurdles when it comes to making changes, Wolkovich said.

In Europe, she said, growers have the advantage of tremendous diversity.

They have more than 1,000 grape varieties to choose from. Yet strict labelling laws have created restrictions on their ability to take advantage of this diversity.

For example, just three varieties of grapes can be labelled as Champagne or four for Burgundy.

Similar restrictions have been enacted in many European regions – all of which force growers to focus on a small handful of grape varieties.

“The more you are locked into what you have to grow, the less room you have to adapt to climate change,” Wolkovich said.

New World winegrowers, meanwhile, must grapple with the opposite problem — while there are few, if any, restrictions on which grape varieties may be grown in a given region, growers have little experience with the diverse — and potentially more climate change adaptable — varieties of grapes found in Europe, the study said.

Just 12 varieties account for more than 80 per cent of the grapes grown in Australian vineyards, Wolkovich said.

More than 75 per cent of all the grapes grown in China is Cabernet Sauvignon — and the chief reason why has to do with consumers.

“They have all the freedom in the world to import new varieties and think about how to make great wines from a grape variety you’ve never heard of, but they’re not doing it because the consumer hasn’t heard of it,” Wolkovich said. (IANS)