Scientists share research advances to address global sustainability issues
Six scientists from DuPont’s Nutrition & Biosciences business have shared research that is said to respond to some of the world’s biggest challenges when it comes to ensuring a sustainable future for people and planet in a series of TED talks.
In a series of TED Talks, a nonprofit that sets out to share ideas in short talks, six DuPont Nutrition & Biosciences’ scientists have presented their ideas in a bid to help solve some of the world’s most pressing sustainability challenges. The research is said to relate to the use of enzymes for more sustainable consumption, alternatives to antibiotics in livestock production, reducing environmental impact in oilfields and tackling the worldwide obesity pandemic by harnessing the human gut microbiota.
1: Using brain scans to understand taste response for more nutritious and sustainable food products – Camilla Arndal Andersen, Ph.D., Scientist
Camilla Arndal Andersen presented her research on how food flavours provoke specific brain response. By using brain scans, studies of food perception are said to no longer be limited by vocabulary or the capacity of the conscious mind. Her studies allegedly show that our bodies react to flavour differences even though we are not consciously aware of them. According to Anderson, unconscious food attributes may therefore prove to be vital to food experience and could be used to replace traditional ingredient sources with healthier or more sustainable options without sacrificing taste.
2: Tackling the worldwide obesity pandemic with early gut microbiota – Henna-Maria Uusitupa, Ph.D., Senior Scientist & Technical Lead of Infant Health
Henna-Maria Uusitupa examined the role of infant gut microbiota on overall health later in life. The research indicated that the beneficial bacteria we acquire as infants helps keep us healthier, even as adults. Disruptions in early gut microbiota development, caused by C-section birth, antibiotics and environmental as well as nutritional factors might have a crucial role in the development of overweight and obese conditions, which are increasingly prevalent in children and adolescents, according to Uusitupa. The research is said to deal with how customised pre- and probiotic products could reintroduce the lost beneficial microbes to infants and children to tackle worldwide health problems such as the obesity pandemic.
3: Raising animals without antibiotics in a sustainable and healthy way – Leon Marchal, Ph.D. and Innovation Director
The rise of multi-resistant bacteria is said to pose an increasing risk to global health and one of the main causes is overreliance on antibiotics in animal production industry, according to Leon Marchal’s research. The research allegedly uncovers novel and alternative ways to supplement the role of antibiotics. It is said to show that, by using a holistic science-based approach, we can feed 10 billion omnivores sustainably, reducing the use of antibiotics and the evolution of multi-resistant bacteria.
4: Transform and optimise oilfield systems with molecular biology – Geert van der Kraan, Ph.D., Research Scientist, Discovery and Applications
Geert van der Kraan focused on how molecular biology can be used to impact oilfield systems. His goals are threefold: optimise and reduce the amount of chemicals used by making dosing more effective and treating the system as needed; improving the overall management of production — and injection — of water systems to extend the lifespan of a well or reservoir; and reduce the amount of sulfide in topside facilities, making the work associated with oil production safer for employees and the environment. Geert’s research is said to be helping halt and potentially reverse land degradation of oil production.
5: Enzymes as tailor-made catalysts and the green choice for contemporary chemistry and microbiology – Adam Garske, Ph.D., Senior Scientist
Recent advances in enzyme engineering and directed evolution are said to make possible the design of tailor-made catalysts for a variety of purposes. In his research, Adam Garske explores how scientifically modified enzymes can help solve urgent problems, such as plastics degrading enzymes or by improving the efficiency of common household products like laundry detergent and dish soap. New products that incorporate these innovations are said to allow consumers to do more with less, ultimately reducing global consumption and waste.
6: Everyday science in our homes: using enzymes for more sustainable households – Vicky Huang, Scientist and Application Specialist
Vicky Huang’s research looks at the considerable science that goes into household products, such as uncovering how enzymes can replace harsher and non-biodegradable ingredients in household products, ultimately enabling consumers to live more sustainable lives.