Session Title: Life Cycle Innovation in the Bio-Economy and Food Sector
Time: 5:30 – 6:00pm
Session Type: tba
With the increased health consciousness of consumers, a huge number of traditional and almost abandoned varieties of food are being re-visited. This is the case of the cultivation of Pomodoro Siccagno, a type of tomato produced in South Italy. Its nutritional and health related benefits have been acknowledged, in particular it contains carotene which is the subject of various scientific research to determine how the accumulation dynamics can be affected by its genetics and cultivation techniques. Pomodoro Siccagno also has a high concentration of sugar and mineral salts. It is grown using a traditional dry-farming method which has been developed and used in the internal part of Sicily (Italy). It is particularly suitable for water scarcity regions such as South Italy, because it drastically reduces water consumption and also the use of anti-parasites compared to widespread irrigated tomato. Pomodoro Siccagno is particularly suitable for long term conservation due to a thicker skin compared to other species in the region. Despite these positive attributes, the cultivation of Pomodoro Siccagno has been declining over the years and currently represents only 20 % of total tomato cultivation land in the region (Venezia et al., 2010). This is partly due to the low yields as a result of the little or no water use and the low availability of planting seeds. Farmers, therefore, shifted their cultivation to other high-yield cultivation techniques to guarantee family and business revenues. However, this trend is being reversed nowadays as more and more consumers demand for products with high nutritional and health benefits as well as those products which aim at fulfilling requirements of organic farming.
While it is important to promote the valorization and consumption of indigenous products of recognized nutritional and health related attributes, such as Pomodoro Siccagno, it is equally important to establish their environmental performance. A large number of studies have identified high contributions to environmental impacts coming from the cultivation and packaging life cycle stages of tomato products (LIFE PREFER, 2016). Results show huge impacts on land use and water consumption related to cultivation as well as significant energy requirements for agricultural machineries (Ingrao et al., 2019). The objective of this paper is to compare the environmental impacts of Pomodoro Siccagno vis-a-vis irrigated tomato.
A comparative water footprint methodology according to ISO 14046 is applied to both Pomodoro Siccagno and irrigated tomato cultivated in the Italian region of Sicily. The study will be based on primary data related to the actual cultivation process of the different types of tomato. This is part of an ongoing research project of university of Palermo to investigate genetic and nutritional properties of Pomodoro Siccagno and optimize cultivation methods.
The water footprint methodologies will provide robust and representative results essential for decision making and as such will inform policies or strategies aimed at promoting sustainable production and consumption. Hence, this will contribute to advancements towards the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals at local contexts which are usually characterized by typical production and consumption patterns (United Nations Organisation, 2015). Complete findings will be available at the conclusion of the project in summer 2020. These will be presented and discussed, identifying further research gaps and implementation strategies.
Ingrao, C., Faccilongo, N., Valenti, F., De Pascale, G., Di Gioia, L., Messineo, A., Arcidiacono, C., 2019. Tomato puree in the Mediterranean region: An environmental Life Cycle Assessment, based upon data surveyed at the supply chain level. J. Clean. Prod. 233, 292–313. https://doi.org/10.1016/J.JCLEPRO.2019.06.056
LIFE PREFER, 2016. PREFER deliverable PEF analysis 1–269.
United Nations Organisation, 2015. Sustainable Development Goals [WWW Document]. URL https://www.undp.org/content/undp/en/home/sustainable-development-goals.html (accessed 1.31.20).
Venezia, G., Sarno, M., Poma, I., 2010. Productive, Commercial and qualitative characterization of tomato sicilian landraces. Proc. 28th Int. Hortic. Congr. -Science Hortic. people. Lisbona 22-27 agosto, Vol. IIitle.
Lorenzo Di Luca
The bioeconomy is now included in economic roadmaps of many nations and regions, where synthetic biology is a key technology and an enabler of the global transition to a bio-based economy (1). This transition represents a solution to sustainably fulfil the current and future food, health, energy, and resource demands and move to a carbon neutral economy in accordance with the European Green Deal’s goal (2).
However, the bioeconomy is not without concerns about biosafety, competition for land and property rights, especially when involving genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is a critical tool to understand the environmental benefits and limitations of the bioeconomy. However, the socio-technical and economic changes involved in this transition require new interdisciplinary approaches and cooperation between different actors. For this, it is important to move beyond an LCA evaluation of environmental impacts by assessing how stakeholders employ the LCA results to form opinions and make choices.
In our project, we explored the integration of LCA with stakeholder engagement activities to cover all the stages of a novel bio-based value chain. We employed the case of butyl esters production from renewable resources using synthetic biology techniques. To achieve our objective, we developed future scenarios for bio-based butyl esters from lab to commercial scale (2020 – 2040) and a preliminary list of key aspects or “hot spots” identified through LCA approach. The scenario and the hot spots were then presented to stakeholders for them to discuss and evaluate based on their values, knowledge and opinions. Through the process, stakeholders also identified other hot spots to be considered.
The results of this process were employed to develop a roadmap for the diffusion of bio-based butyl ester production based on synthetic biology techniques. This research illustrated how stakeholder engagement conducted in parallel with LCA can contribute to decision making for a sustainable and responsible bioeconomy from lab to commercial scale.
1) Flores Bueso Y and Tangney M. Synthetic Biology in the Driving Seat of the Bioeconomy. Trends in Biotechnology, 2017; 35 (5): 373-8
2) European Green Deal, 2019. Available from: https://ec.europa.eu/info/sites/info/files/european-green-deal-communication_en.pdf
The “Regional Circular and Ecological Sphere” utilizes the SDGs’ concept of integrated solution of multiple issues, complements and supports resources according to the characteristics of the region while maximizing the use of local resources. The purpose of this study is to estimate the availability of woody biomass in Kitakyushu City and to conduct a comprehensive evaluation from three aspects: environment, economy and society. In the Forest Resource Survey, we estimated the amount of forest resources using the Kitakyushu Forest Register and GIS-based forest interpretation data. As for the estimation of the amount of thinned timber that can be harvested, firstly, the amount of thinned timber among unused timber was estimated using the forest data of Kitakyushu City and the system for predicting the production of Japanese cedar and cypress tree plantation in Fukuoka Prefecture. Next, the economic value of woody biomass was examined mainly from two heat utilization and power generation. Finally, we estimated direct job creation.According to the calculation results, 12,000 tons of unused wood chips can be supplied per year for 36 years from 2016 to 2051, and about 510,000 t-CO2 from tree growth was absorbed.
From the economic point of view, the purchase of wood chips of 146 million yen due to the local circulation of wood fuel is expected to save about 50 million yen in intermediate input. The average purchase price of imported wood chips is 20,000 yen / ton, and it is estimated that if 12,000 tons of unused wood chips can be supplied in the city per year, about 988.4 billion yen can be saved annually.
Finally, from a social perspective, biomass power generation of unused thinned timber using materials worth about 146 million yen is expected to create about 20 jobs.
Kitakyushu Agriculture and Forestry Division: Kitakyushu Forestry Statistics, 2016
National Institute for Environmental Studies: Report on Greenhouse Gas Events in Japan, pp.6-11-6-14, 2018
Fukuoka Prefectural Rural Fisheries Promotion Section: Fukuoka Regional Forest Plan, 2016
Statistics of Japan Wood Biomass Energy Association, 2019
Kitakyushu Input-Output Table, 2011