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  • Monday, July 19, 2021
  • New Paper Sheds Light on Vinegar-Producing Microbes

We may think of electricity as a modern human phenomenon, but there are microbes that have been around for millions of years powered by electricity. They are often found in wetlands. In the right environment, these microbes can create a product similar to vinegar.

A new journal article, co-authored by UAF’s Kyle Alvarado and David Denkenberger, has estimated that this food source could be scaled up in a catastrophe to produce less than 1% of global food requirements. It would cost $3-$7 per dry pound retail. Though it is more efficient and lower cost than artificial light-dependent food (vertical farming) it is still not recommended as an alternative food because other options are even better. Those include hydrogen single cell protein and growing food in greenhouses. These alternative food sources also have applications in space and for sustainability on Earth.

This project was funded by the Alaska Space Grant (NASA) and the Alliance to Feed the Earth in Disasters


Wetlands in Alaska. Photo by Amanda Byrd.