Biotech and €6M to Save Orangutans? How a Yeast Alternative to Palm Oil could Stop Deforestation

04/01/2016 - 3 minutes

Armed with a €6M Industry Grant, the Universities of Bath and York in the UK are researching how Yeast could provide a Palm-Oil alternative and save our Great Apes from deforestation…

bath_york_yeast_orangutan_palm_oilPalm oil is an edible vegetable oil derived from the mesocarp (reddish pulp) of the fruit of the oil palms – primarily the African oil palm Elaeis guineensis. However, although hugely important in the food and cosmetic industries, Palm oil is also marked and well known to be a main cause of deforestation in Indonesia, Malaysia, Nigeria, Thailand and Colombia.

The harsh use of land and natural habitat depletion caused by farming oil palms is causing loss in biodiversity of many species, including Great Apes like orangutans. You can read more about the devastating ecological effects of deforestation in an article by the Guardian.

Moreover, there are effects on the human species too, with several studies linking palm oil to higher risks of cardiovascular disease (which is not exactly unsurprising given it’s abundance in confectionery and fatty meals).

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