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DuPont Nutrition & Biosciences address global sustainability issues

In a series of TED Talks, six DuPont Nutrition & Biosciences’ scientists share aspirational research to solve some of the world’s most pressing sustainability challenges, relating to enzymes for more sustainable consumption, alternatives to antibiotics in livestock production and tackling the worldwide obesity pandemic by harnessing the human gut microbiota

TED’s platform gave the scientists an opportunity to showcase some of the most impactful innovations coming out of DuPont Nutrition & Biosciences.

Understanding taste response for sustainable food products

Camilla Arndal Andersen presented her research on how food flavours provoke specific brain response. By using brain scans, studies of food perception are no longer limited by vocabulary or the capacity of the conscious mind.

Her studies show that our bodies react to flavour differences even though we are not consciously aware of them. 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.

Tackling the worldwide obesity pandemic with early gut microbiota

Henna-Maria Uusitupa examined the role of infant gut microbiota on overall health later in life. Research indicates that the beneficial bacteria we acquire as infants help keep us healthier, even as adults. Consequently, 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.

Henna-Maria Uusitupa’s research deals with how customised pre- and probiotic products could reintroduce the lost beneficial microbes to infants and children to tackle worldwide health problems such as obesity pandemic.

Raising animals without antibiotics in a sustainable way

The rise of multi-resistant bacteria poses an increasing risk to global health and one of the main causes is an overreliance on antibiotics in the animal production industry.

Leon Marchal’s research has uncovered novel and alternative ways to supplement the role of antibiotics. It shows 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.

Enzymes as green choice for contemporary chemistry and microbiology

Recent advances in enzyme engineering and directed evolution 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 allow consumers to do more with less, ultimately reducing global consumption and waste.

Using enzymes for more sustainable households

Vicky Huang’s research deals with the considerable science that goes into household products, e.g., uncovering how enzymes can replace harsher and non-biodegradable ingredients in household products, ultimately enabling consumers to live more sustainable lives.