Scientists in California and India are turning landfill gas into eco-friendly food for human consumption. Bloomberg reports that Calysta Inc. and String Bio have both discovered ways to make methane into protein that could end up on your plate. Bacteria found in soil are fed a liquid containing the gas, which then ferments, releasing protein into the water. The resulting solution can be dried into a brown powder.
“It’s way better to turn methane into food than burn it,” Calysta’s chief executive officer, Alan Shaw, told Bloomberg. “What better use for it than to turn it into protein and put it into the human food system, and take a lot of the pressure off?”
String Bio co-founder Ezhil Subbian claims that landfills, sewage plants, and farms naturally produce enough methane to be captured and transported to a facility. But this amount isn’t enough to supply a large plant, so the company is working on scaling down its technology. For now, Calysta will use natural gas from a pipeline at its $500 million facility in Memphis, Tennessee. String Bio is still looking for investor funding to help with the technology necessary to downscale their equipment.
Currently, methane-made protein is being fed to farm-raised fish and poultry. “You just mix the protein with regular feed and feed it to the animals. I envision us purifying it further where it could be ready for human consumption,” Subbian told Bloomberg. “We’d sell it to someone else who makes it into a steak-like product, or a fish-like product, or something like a tofu perhaps, that we could grill and eat.”
Eating foods high in protein is linked to health and muscle gain. But, if you take in too much of it, your body can experience some pretty serious side effects. This is what happens to your body when you eat too much protein.