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Learn about a versatile diet fit for feeding future space travelers

 You can now take common yeast, 3D printer, some smart science, and you will have a versatile diet fit for feeding future space travelers.

Learn about a versatile diet fit for feeding future space travelers

Researchers have identified a vision for an alien diet that provides dishes with a taste, texture, aromas, textures and varied alonas. Its essential component is yeast, contributing to sustainable food security, while removing pressure on natural ecosystems and maximizing food production capabilities on the ground and beyond.

Details of the new system appeared in a study published in Nature Communications, led by researchers from Macquarie University of Australia, and announced in a university press release on 4 November.

A versatile diet

The basic ingredient used in this system is the famous Saccharomyces cerevisiae, a delicate food-friendly organism, which has already been used for thousands of years in bread, fermentation and winemaking.

According to the university's press release, you can now take the common yeast, 3D printer, some smart science, and you will have a versatile diet fit for feeding space travelers in the future.

Yeast cells are already nutritious, containing a large proportion of protein, carbohydrates, small amounts of fat and most of the essential amino acids that humans need from food.

They can currently be genetically engineered in many easy and safe ways, and yeast mushrooms can be further enhanced by adding nutrients, taste, color and texture.

The study's lead author, Dr. Priardo Lorente, of the Faculty of Natural Sciences at Macquarie University, says "the best approach to maintaining extended human space projects is to produce food in the same location."

Microbial Food Production System

Previous work estimated that all vitamins and large nutrients needed for a balanced diet could feed 50-100 people a day from a fermentation tank with a capacity of 3 thousand litres, making yeast mushrooms a promising candidate for the development of a microbial diet.

Instead of the food system known in popular Star Trek series and films, in which food is made on demand, this system will include the use of synthetic biology to give yeast the ability to produce common nutrients and sensory features of terrestrial foods, such as flavors, colors, smells and textures.


While space is the obvious state of use of this new diet, given the constraints of food production in difficult environments, Dr. Lorente and his co-team believe that engineered yeast has enormous potential to address sustainability here on Earth.

In addition to its ability to support extended human endeavours in space, bioengineered microbial foods can also open up opportunities to address global food security and the immediate impact on the Earth's food industry, as the development of microbial foods carries enormous potential to meet challenges during crises and conflicts.

The team involving scientists from the Australian Research Council's Centre of Excellence in Synthetic Biology considers that engineered food sources are gaining more popularity and that there is a growing market for increasing the use of engineered yeast in achieving sustainability.

"These alternative foods can one day solve some of our most complex problems of dealing sustainably with food security, while removing pressure from natural ecosystems."


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