A Powder To Help Prevent Children’s Food Allergies

[Photo: Flickr user Boudewijn Berends]

Sustainability issue: Health

Description: 

The journal Pediatrics states that about 30% of children have food allergies.  Studies show that introducing allergenic foods at an early stage of a child’s life can help reduce the future development of allergies.

To tackle this issue, company Before Brands has developed a product called SpoonfulOne. SpoonfulOne is a protein supplement powder that help “support and educate the immune system”. The body will then get accustomed to proteins found in several allergenic food such as different nuts, milk, soy and more.

The powder is sold through a subscription based model where parents receive the powder that they can then mix into their children’s food.

Sources:

https://www.spoonfulone.com/

https://www.fastcompany.com/40483090/can-a-spoonful-of-this-powder-help-prevent-childrens-food-allergies

 

Stakeholders:

-FDA/Parents/Pediatricians/Pharmacists/Schools

Implementation: 

-Map areas that have the biggest numbers of kids with food allergies and work in this areas

-Reach out to hospitals and pediatricians and pharmacists to work with them and have them recommend the product to their clients

-Reach out to schools to let them know about the products. Having a reduction in food allergies is definitely going to help make their life easier so they should be interested in any preventive measures

 

 

 

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Nature-inspired water collection system

AquaWeb+inspirationsystem-aquaweb

  1. Sustainability Problem: In the next few decades, approximately 9 billion people will live in this planet, concentrating in urban areas. The current growth rate of food production won’t be enough to feed the mouths of everyone. Hence, a sustainable local food production solution will be in demand. Mimicking the way nature works, NexLoop created a water collection system to support urban sustainable agriculture.
  2. The AquaWeb can help urban local food producers collect, filter, store and distribute atmospheric moisture with a modular, all-in-one water sourcing and management system. Other features are as follows:
    • Harnesses freely available rain and fog
    • Distribute water using passive strategies to urban farms
    • Resilient to disturbances
    • Design and inspiration from cribellate orb weaver spider, drought-tolerant plants, and Jersey cow mushroom

Sources:

Nature-inspired water collection system wins $100,000 Ray of Hope Prize® – Biomimicry Institute

https://biomimicry.org/roh2017winner/

NexLoop | Home

http://www.nexloop.us/

  1. Stakeholders:
    • Citizens around the world
    • Urban farms
    • Agriculture industry
    • Building contractors and architects
    • Groceries and supermarkets
  2. Next steps:
    • Do a feasibility study and engage with stakeholders to improve relations
    • Reach an agreement on costs and economic outlook
    • Initiate pilot-scale project through government funding

 

By: Timothy Wiranata

UNI: tw2618

 

Comment on The benefits of waste-to-energy technologies:

“A very interesting technology! However, I am curious on what will be done after the methane is captured. There will still be the liquid waste water right? Will it be used for other applications?”

Machine learning for vegan food

  1. Meat and animal products are an important source of protein with a relevant nutritional value. Nonetheless, the environmental impact in terms of land use, water consumption and CO2 emissions have become of significant importance, also due to the continuous increasing consumption. By 2050 world meat production is projected to double, most of which is expected in developing countries. [1]

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization, the livestock sector generates more greenhouse gas emissions [Co2e] than transport, by 18%. [2]

It is also a major source of land and water degradation. Livestock’s requires vast tracts of land and a significant demand for feed crops, both contribute to biodiversity loss. Moreover, it’s among the most damaging sectors water resources, not only because of its water consumption, but also contributing to water pollution, eutrophication and the degeneration of coral reefs, due to the manure of livestock.

  1. Machine learning is a subset of AI, that generates algorithms that can learn from data and make predictions on it.  In other words make machines learn from experience, experience coming in form of data and the more the data, the more it learns. Machine learning can be useful for making data-driven predictions or decisions.

To create healthier food, companies like Hamptons Creek are automating the extraction and analysis of plant proteins. This includes examining their molecular features and functional performance such as gelling, foaming, and emulsifying properties. Ultimately, the goal is to feed this research to an AI an through machine-learning algorithms identify the most-promising proteins for use in the creation of vegan food that tastes similar to animal products (mayonnaise, muffins, spreads, and other foods). Finally, we are applying generative design to food production. [3]

According to Lee Chae, Hampton Creek’s head of research and development,  Hampton Creek applies deep machine learning to plant biological data to meet its objective of creating healthier food. [4]

  1. This is not really a new technology rather than a new technology application. To deploy this application, more enterprises in the food industry should be making research in this field, or applying the outcomes. More importantly, I personally don’t think that every enterprise should be conducting the same research rather than to have an open database with the results,  would be a great way to expand the adoption of this knowledge.  Furthermore, this new application raises the question of what other industries could be impacted by machine learning, through generative design? Let’s take for example the polymer industry, imagine to feed the AI data about the plant properties to replace plastics.

 

  1. Since deep learning and machine learning can be applied to several databases, to make predictions as well as generative design, many industries could benefit from this technology. In my opinion is a private sector driven technology, especially due to its large upfront capital investment.  The first step to deploy it is to have a reliable database, this can be either from a primary or a secondary source, depending on the application.

Although it does require a group of people specialized in artificial intelligence, the results could be applied to the industry with no further disruption, this reduces the barriers to technology adoption.

Solar Water Capturing Device

Problem
Many developing countries in the Middle East and Africa are experiencing water shortage problems. The amounts of water vapor that can be found and potentially captured from the air are equal to about 10% of fresh water found in lakes on Earth. Most of the countries in question rely on importing water and aid from other word organizations. Furthermore, those areas experience low humidity which restricts the use of current technology due to their low efficiency.

Solution
A research team at MIT has come up with a design for a device that can capture water vapor at an average rate of 2.8 liters daily at relative humidity levels as low as 20%. The design is based on “porous metal-organic framework-801” that utilizes adsorption properties of the metal and organic material. The frame absorbs water and then the device uses the heat from the sun to release the water into a storage device. This means that no additional heat or energy is required to operate the device. The design is still in its early stage and further research and development are needed to make sure of its efficiency and reliability.

F1.large

Stakeholders

  • Potential investors
  • Scientists and institution working on the research
  • Manufacturers of metal-organic material
  • People living in areas with water shortages

Next Steps
Since the technology is still in development, MIT and other investors should back the project for further development. The device is still a prototype and requires additional filtration system and an improved collection system for water particulates that form on the surface of the device. Advertise the technology and shift focus to countries in need of new freshwater resources to help fund the manufacturing process of the device and start initial testing.

By: Ahmad Al Zubair (aa4098)

Resources used:

 

Comment on “Hybrid Wind Power Generating & Fish Farming System

Although I like the idea of integrating different technologies and ideas and finding more efficient uses of spaces, there are many debates growing on whether these can be called “sustainable.” There are many issues with fish farms:

  • They disturb other fish habitats in the area
  • Inconsistent water currents and circulation can result in water with high health risks
  • Generally, they acquire a bad image in the eyes of the public vs. wild fishing
  • Risk of fish “escapes”

Maybe the technology can be modified so that the energy generated can somehow try to fix or minimize some of the issues listed above.

 

Turning Climate Pollution Into Fish Feed

 

p-1-this-startup-turns-climate-pollution-into-ingredients-for-fish-feed

Area of focus: Safety and Health

Description:

Overfishing is a global issue that causes environmental and social problems. From an environment standpoint, it not only affects fish stocks around the world which are declining at an alarming rate but also represent an important source of water pollution due to massive fishing boats deployed in various locations. Those big scale exploitations then affect small scale fishermen by decreasing the amounts of fish reaching the coasts. Also, a lot of fish caught by the bigger boats are exported, leaving local population with a reduced quantity of food available.

One of the drivers of overfishing is the need for small fish used as feed (usually for bigger fish productions and livestock).  As the Fast Company’s article mentions : “NovoNutrients wants to replace that fish food with something more sustainable: microbes grown with carbon dioxide”.

The company uses carbon dioxide to feed microbes that become protein used for animal feed production. A pipe is connected to water where the gases are dissolved.

During the process, Hydrogen is also being produced thru (solar-powered) hydrolyse which helps power the installation.

Sources:

https://www.novonutrients.com/

https://www.fastcompany.com/40480856/this-startup-turns-climate-pollution-into-fish-feed

http://www.allaboutfeed.net/New-Proteins/Articles/2017/8/More-fish-meal-but-growing-interest-in-alternatives-165917E/?cmpid=NLC%7Callaboutfeed%7C2017-08-02%7CMore_fish_meal,_but_growing_interest_in_alternatives#comments

 

Stakeholders :

  • Animal feed manufacturing companies
  • Livestock and aquaculture farms
  • Government officials

Implementation:

  • Research countries with the highest concentration of aquaculture farms
  • Approach farmers to show them the product
  • Work with government officials to integrate the use of the product in best management practice guides for farmers

Other technology:  Fighting fire with math and maps (https://blog.nature.org/science/2016/08/03/technology-to-the-rescue-for-foresters-in-the-thick-of-it/)

This technology is interesting as it could help cities with diseases spreading among trees. By mapping the type of trees available around the city, officials would be able to better diversify the kind of new trees planted making “greening” efforts more efficient.

 

RIPE: Genetic Engineering and Future Food Shortages

The United Nations estimates the world population will increase to 9.6 billion people by 2050. A population rise is be accompanied with growing concerns about resource usage such as water, food, energy, and housing. The RIPE Project is sponsored by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

1.  Sustainability Problem: Health & Water

2. The following bullet points summarizes sustainability technology that addresses health and water:

  • A project called Realizing Increased Photosynthetic Efficiency (RIPE) is a team of researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • The team is using genetic engineering technology to maximize the photosynthetic capabilities of tobacco
  • Their goal is to increase crop yields and efficiency by targeting inefficiencies in the plant metabolism
  • RIPE is engineering three genes that express how light is processed
  • Thus far, they have increased tobacco yields in a greenhouse by 20%

3. Organizational Stakeholders: Once the RIPE team assembles a procedure that can be reproduced in mass with different plant species, a number of stakeholders will be necessary to implement this technology.

  • Educational stakeholders must recruited trained scientists in genetic engineering.
  • The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization can use their involvement to bring policy to the mainstream regarding genetically engineered foods internationally.
  • Public Private Partnerships can be used to make technology more affordable.

4. The first step in deploying this technology can be deployed by bringing this to the UNFAO to encourage international acceptance of this technology as a solution to the food crisis as population rises. Following this, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation can create a protocol and continue their research with other essential food crops. A team of educational stakeholders should be assembled to encourage genetic engineering at universities.

Check out the link to the article below to check out more images and information.

https://www.technologyreview.com/s/608535/to-feed-the-world-improve-photosynthesis/

Designer Davorin Mesari turns city residents into farmers

Sustainability Technology: Designer Davorin Mesari has created an indoor garden made up of 16 individual growing pods, allowing city dwellers with minimal space to grow fruits and vegetable. The growing units are stackable, so output can be doubled without compromising precious urban space.

Sustainability Problem: Access to Healthy Foods

According to Harvard’s School of Public Health’s website, “A diet rich in vegetables and fruits can lower blood pressure, reduce risk of heart disease and stroke, prevent some types of cancer, lower risk of eye and digestive problems, and have a positive effect upon blood sugar which can help keep appetite in check.”  They confirm that while all fruits and vegetables contribute to health benefits, “green leafy vegetables such as lettuce, spinach, Swiss chard, and mustard greens” are some of the most important health contributors.  Despite these findings, many urban dwellers find themselves too busy to cook a healthy meal and rely instead on take out, delivery, or processed foods which are often unhealthy.  More often than not, these items are packaged in such a way that contribute to negative environmental impacts. Davorin Mesari’s innovative product, aptly named ‘Indoor Garden’  allows city residents to grow produce healthy food in the comfort of their apartments. This inventive technology creates an indoor modern garden that is powered by fluorescent lighting which mimics the natural solar spectrum allowing urban denizens to grow their own healthy vegetables and greens at home without creating unnecessary waste, and thus making the production of a healthy meal not only easy but more accessible.

Davorin Mesari’s state-of-the-art technology could be implemented in a central setting, such as a school or community center, as an urban agricultural project offering locally grown produce into a food desert, or area where there is limited access to healthy, fresh food. One issue with urban farming is finding the land on which to farm and ensuring that the soil is not contaminated.  With ‘Indoor Garden,’ you don’t need to find land on which to farm or worry about soil as the units come with growing pods and are stackable to maximize indoor space. Moreover, these units can serve as educational devices, and, once installed, can showcase the cultivation, harvesting, and the preparation of healthy meals.

Technology Stakeholders:

  • Urban Residents
  • Schools
  • Community Centers
  • Urban Farmers
  • Farm to Table Enthusiasts

Process of Implementation: 

Step 1: Introduce this new technology through an educational workshop to a community group or school and describe the feasibility of implementation.

Step 2: Based on local interest and available funding, establish a site for implementation.

Step 3: Work with local businesses to attract further financing (if necessary) by creating excitement around the new technology.

Step 4: Once funds are raised and site is established, buy 5 units for testing and establish a protocol to ensure maintenance of product.

Step 5: Collect feedback from community group/school and establish ways to enhance the next phase or implementation at a second site.

Source: 

Yanko Design’s ‘Cultivation in the City by Troy Turner

The Nutrition Source (Vegetables and Fruits)

Starting A City Farm