In 2050, more than nine billion people will have to be fed and an estimated 70 percent of these will live in cities. The middle class will continue to grow. With affluence and urbanization, the eating habits of many people will change: Meat, fish, milk products and eggs will be an integral part of their diet.
The Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO) estimates: By 2030, worldwide annual consumption of meat will be 373 million metric tons and by 2050, the figure will rise to 465 million metric tons. The current milk production of approx. 750 million metric tons annually will also likely continue to grow to meet the rising demand.
GREATER SUSTAINABILITY IN AGRICULTURE
More meat and more milk products mean more livestock farming and more feed– which means more agricultural land, higher water and energy consumption, and also higher greenhouse gas emissions due to cultivation and transport. Added to this is greater competition for land to grow fruit and vegetables and higher volumes of manure, resulting in greater environmental pollution through overfertilization.
The long-term solution is to sustainably reduce resource consumption in agriculture while simultaneously increasing productivity. The key here is the animal feed and the protein building blocks contained in it which are called amino acids. All organisms use these amino acids to form their proteins which then carry out various tasks in the body: Proteins help to control vital processes in the body and to ward off infections; they are also found in hair, skin, muscles and connective tissue.
The amino acids supplied via feed must be present in the correct balance, only then can the organism form the required proteins in sufficient quantities. For this reason, animal feeds must be formulated to contain all protein elements in the correct proportion. This is the case if the feed is enriched with the missing amino acids which have been specially produced for this purpose.
If Evonik’s DL-methionine amino acid is added to the feed, the ammonia, nitrate and greenhouse gas emissions decrease. The energy consumption also decreases by more than 80 percent. The addition of amino acids to feed also conserves the available arable land.
Adding amino acids to livestock feed thus fulfills all the criteria for sustainability as it satisfies ecological, economic and societal requirements in equal measure: It reduces the need for fish meal and forage crops and the associated need for agricultural land. It thus slows the likely price increases for meat and fish and enables the production of high-quality protein that is required for the healthy nutrition of the growing world population.