The Waggle - Issue 40
Wearable Algae: There are many uses of algae for climate solutions including its role in blue carbon ecosystems, dissolving carbon in seawater, neutralizing cow burps, terrestrial carbon farms, and concrete. Now we can add clothing to the list. This Bloomberg article details how researchers and start-up companies are employing bioplastic derived from algae, including Charlotte McCurdy who is hoping that nature-based materials can do for fashion what electrification is doing for vehicles. Algaeing is an Israeli company specializing in algae-based dyes and inks for textiles. They are developing a yarn as well. The need is huge. The clothing industry produces 100 billion garments a year and is responsible for 10% of annual global carbon emissions. Here is a graphic summary of its environmental impact. Algae-based textiles are part of the solution!
The Waggle - Issue 39
Trees with Edible Leaves: Perennial agriculture expert Eric Toensmeier has a new publication that focuses on a remarkable group of crops – trees with edible leaves. It profiles 100 species of trees, shrubs, and cacti, detailing how to cultivate these overlooked and highly nutritional food sources (as vegetables, not spices). It may be the first time they’ve been described in a single publication. It follows an important study Eric and others published in 2020 in PLOS ONE on perennial vegetables, highlighting their role in carbon sequestration. The trees with edible leaves described in the new publication are not wild crops, they’re farmed. Adding woody perennials to annual cropping systems is a type of agroforestry called silvoarable. Check out this short video. Also, check out Eric’s book The Carbon Farming Solution for more information.
The Waggle - Issue 38
Emerging Alternatives to Palm Oil: Palm oil is a significant driver of deforestation in the tropics–an estimated 47% of Indonesia's forest was lost to palm oil between 1972 and 2015–and production is expected to triple by 2050. However, researchers are tapping into a World War II-era solution to find an alternative: oils made from yeast and microbes that retain palm oil's chemical properties. Thus far, most synthetic oils have been produced with yeasts that feed on cane sugar, but the process could be rendered even more sustainable by utilizing a yeast that ferments potato peels as well as a fungus that feeds on corn harvest leftovers. With companies racing to scale up production and the first microbial oil product expected to be launched by the startup C16 as early as the first months of 2023, researchers are optimistic that lab-grown palm oil alternatives could become a key tool in preventing tropical deforestation within the next 5 years.