Technologie alimentaire : la viande et les insectes cultivés en laboratoire sont “bons pour la planète et la santé”

Rémy Rugira

Se nourrir de viande cultivée en laboratoire ou d’insectes broyés pourrait permettre de réaliser d’importantes économies d’émissions de carbone et d’eau, tout en libérant des terres pour la nature.

C’est ce qui ressort d’une étude calculant les avantages environnementaux des aliments “plus verts” dans nos assiettes.

Selon les scientifiques, les pressions exercées sur la planète pourraient diminuer de plus de 80 % avec de tels aliments, par rapport au régime alimentaire européen typique.

Mais il n’est pas encore certain que les consommateurs veuillent changer leurs habitudes alimentaires.

Une multitude d’aliments non conventionnels sont en cours de développement dans le but de fournir des aliments riches en protéines et autres nutriments, tout en ménageant la planète en utilisant moins d’eau et de terres.

Des scientifiques finlandais ont étudié le profil nutritionnel de certains de ces produits et se sont penchés sur trois mesures de la pression environnementale : l’utilisation de l’eau, des terres et les émissions potentielles de carbone.

Ils affirment que le remplacement de la viande, des produits laitiers et d’autres produits animaux par des aliments alternatifs pourrait réduire ces impacts de plus de 80 %, tout en fournissant une gamme plus complète de nutriments essentiels qu’un régime purement végétarien ou végétalien.

Microalgues cultivées en laboratoire
Légende image,Algues poussant dans un laboratoire à Singapour

Mais ils constatent également que des solutions relativement peu technologiques, comme la réduction de la viande et la consommation de plus de légumes, ont un impact similaire sur la planète.

“En réduisant de manière significative les aliments d’origine animale et en les remplaçant par des aliments nouveaux ou futurs et des protéines végétales de substitution, vous pouvez obtenir des réductions importantes des impacts environnementaux en termes de potentiel de réchauffement de la planète, d’utilisation des terres et de l’eau”, explique Rachel Mazac de l’Université d’Helsinki.

Mais elle a ajouté qu’il y avait “des réductions similaires des impacts dans un régime végétalien”. Et dans le cas d’un régime réduisant de 75 % les aliments d’origine animale, “vous pouvez obtenir une réduction d’environ 75 % de tous vos impacts”.

Les recherches, publiées dans Nature Food, ont porté sur de nouveaux aliments qui devraient prendre une place plus importante dans notre alimentation dans les années à venir, et dont beaucoup reposent sur des méthodes de haute technologie pour “cultiver” des cellules animales et végétales dans des bioréacteurs.

Les nouveaux aliments étudiés – dont certains sont encore à l’état de projet – sont les suivants :

  • Mouches et grillons moulus
  • Blanc d’œuf provenant de cellules de poulet cultivées en laboratoire
  • Un type d’algue appelé varech
  • Poudres protéinées à base de champignons ou de microbes
  • Algues alimentaires
  • Lait, viande et baies cultivés à partir de cellules
Culture du varech
Légende image,Le varech en poudre est présent dans une série de compléments alimentaires

Le Dr Asaf Tzachor, de l’université de Cambridge, qui ne faisait pas partie de l’équipe de recherche, estime que si ces résultats sont “prometteurs”, la réticence des consommateurs à modifier leur régime alimentaire pourrait “retarder, voire empêcher, cette transition indispensable”.

De nombreuses études ont montré que l’adoption d’un régime alimentaire à base de plantes présente des avantages tant pour la santé que pour la planète.

Un récent rapport du Groupe d’experts intergouvernemental sur l’évolution du climat recommande de passer à une alimentation équilibrée, riche en végétaux tels que les céréales et les légumes, avec une consommation modérée de viande et de produits laitiers issus d’une production durable.


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