QATAR – Qatar scientists have pioneered a solution to decrease reliance on imported livestock feed by repurposing food waste, primarily fruits and vegetables, into microbial protein, bolstering sustainability in the nation’s growing livestock sector.

Dr. Kashif Rasool, a sustainability and environmental scientist at the Qatar Environment and Energy Research Institute, underscores the urgent need for Qatar to seek sustainable and cost-effective protein sources for animal feed production. 

He reveals that nearly one-third of global food products perish before reaching consumption, highlighting the issue’s magnitude. 

This statistic is supported by data from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), which provides that food loss and waste accounts for 30% of all food produced worldwide, especially in developing countries. 

The project developing this solution, funded by the Ministry of Municipality and the Qatar National Research Fund, endeavors to transform waste management practices by harnessing biogas for microbial fermentation. 

This process involves converting biomethane into microbial protein, although specifics regarding the technology, including the bacteria strain, remain undisclosed.

Dr. Rasool asserts that utilizing methane as a feedstock for microbial protein production mitigates emissions from agriculture and furnishes a sustainable and economical protein source. 

The scientists intend to collaborate with local communities, feed companies, and stakeholders to finalize the technology and facilitate its industrial implementation.

With limited water resources and arid terrain, Qatar currently imports 90% of its food. Efforts to bolster self-sufficiency through initiatives like the Qatar National Food Security Programme have fallen short of targets. 

However, Dr. Rasool remains optimistic, labeling the project as a beacon of promise for Qatar’s feed industry.

Dr. Fares Al-Momani, a professor of chemical engineering at Qatar University and a project collaborator, echoes Dr. Rasool’s sentiment, citing promising results from initial trials.

The technology demonstrates efficacy in producing bioprotein from a blend of agricultural waste, including spoiled fruits and vegetables.

Microbial protein emerges as a game-changing protein source, rich in essential amino acids crucial for animal health and productivity. 

Dr. Al-Momani asserts that this nutritional advancement holds the potential to significantly enhance animal well-being, productivity, and profitability, marking a remarkable leap toward sustainable agriculture in Qatar.

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