ESA Annual Meetings Online Program

Unbiased introduction, Topic 1: What is the best individual solution to feeding the world's growing population?

Tuesday, November 13, 2012: 1:40 PM
Lecture Hall, Floor Two (Knoxville Convention Center)
Suhas Vyavhare , Agricultural Sciences, Texas A&M University, Canyon, TX
Despite the outstanding scientific achievements, the world today confronts ever-growing challenges of widespread food insecurity and malnutrition.  Solutions to this grand challenge will be found, in part, through increasing agricultural production on the limited available land by using advanced technology like GMOs and exploring new renewable sources of food such as edible insects.

Genetic modification of organisms is a powerful tool that enables us to improve food nutritional profiles, empower our crops with disease and insect resistant traits, and increased production in a faster, more efficient manner than traditional breeding.  Although several questions have been raised about its possible negative impacts on human health and the ecosystem, if used wisely, this product of science has great potential in closing the gap between food demand and supply.

Another potential solution to secure nutrients for human consumption is entomophagy.  Using insect for food has a great development potential.  Edible insects are a rich source of protein, amino acids, fats, carbohydrates, minerals and vitamins that can be incorporated into human diets to meet the nutrient requirements of a growing population.  Furthermore, insects are more efficient transforming plant biomass into animal biomass than conventional livestock and they also have higher fecundity and a much faster growth rate.  Edible insects as human food could be a tough idea to sell but if enough marketing efforts are set in place, one can envisage industry picking up the mass scale production of edible insects.

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