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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2022

Environmental benefits of circular food systems: The case of upcycled protein recovered using genome edited potato

Bartek, Louise; Sundin, Niina; Strid, Ingrid; Andersson, Mariette; Hansson, Per-Anders; Eriksson, Mattias


Although essential in the human diet, large quantities of available protein are currently lost or under-utilized within the food system, including protein rich side streams from conventional potato starch production. By using the genome editing technique CRISPR-Cas9, conventional starch potato cultivars can be upgraded to facilitate high-value recovery of potato protein fit for human consumption. In turn, this could support the nessecary transition towards more circular food systems. The aim of this study was to assess what environmental benefits could be gained by shifting from conventional protein recovery practice to a novel approach using genome edited potato. Our results, using consequential life cycle assessment, showed that the novel protein recovery scenario provided substantial environmental savings for every ton potato starch produced, with a reduction in global warming impact, terrestrial acidification, land use and ecosystem damage of −720 kgCO2eq, −13 kgSO2eq, −760 m2a crop eq, and −1.1 × 10−5 species.yr respectively. The potential environmental benefits of using genome edited potato were maintained even when simulating reduced tuber yield, increased production inputs, and substitution of various protein sources. Although currently limited by EU legislation and technical maturity, high-value protein recovery from food side streams holds a promising potential to support sustainable production and circularity within the food system.


Life cycle assessment (LCA); Resource recovery; Circular bioeconomy; Food waste valorization; CRISPR-Cas9

Published in

Journal of Cleaner Production
2022, Volume: 380, number: Part 1, article number: 134887