Can Palm Oil Help Save Tropical Forests?

At Zoom, Kelleher showed a picture of Xylome’s yeast, made from a type of oil called Lipomyces starkeyi. Through a microscope, the yeast resembled dish soap. “You are looking for a yeast that is really broken,” he said. “They are crushed to the outside of the wall because of the amount of fat produced in the yeast.” Fed with corn syrup, genetic stress can give a significant amount of weight to lipids. “They do exactly what we do if we continue to give ourselves sugar,” Kelleher said. “It’s great.”

In 2013, Jeffries, now president of Xylome, found that this type of oil was very similar to palm oil, which is valuable because of its combination of saturated and trans fats. This mixture is extremely effective in warming and warming-body water for chocolate, soaps, and cosmetics. Other essential oils of date palms are used as fuel, solvents, lubricants, and many other products, especially in China, India, and Indonesia.

The similarity between the yeast oil and palm oil came about by chance — Xylome wanted to buy diesel. But Jeffries and Kelleher realized that there may be something wrong with palm oil when Kelleher’s daughter told him about the growing interest in palm-free cosmetics in order to solve the environmental problems known for many years. to strengthen countries directing unstable palm oil.

Even palm oil production is causing a 1 percent reduction in logs worldwide, according to 2018. reports from the International Union for Conservation of Nature, is the main reason for deforestation in tropical areas. In Borneo, for example, the cultivation of palm trees has caused more than half the total loss of palm trees in the last 20 years. The search for the future could lead to deforestation. The same report also found that more than a million square miles[1 million sq km]of biodiversity may be threatened by palm-fringed farming, which could kill almost every species of bird, mammal, and endangered species, from monkeys and tigers to tigers and elephants. Deforestation is repetitive greenhouse gas, when the air-soaked soil beneath the forest floor is shattered, and the trees are burned to destroy the plantations.

Recognizing these effects, vendor-operators work through organizations such as Round on Palm Oil (RSPO), which has ratified palm oil supply chains since 2007 – is looking for ways to increase palm oil production to ensure that crops are not grown in natural or arid areas. Although the number of palm growers is legal, the process is limited, said Janice Lee, an environmental scientist who studies palm oil at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. For example, it may be difficult to convince smallholder farmers, who together represent large amounts of palm oil in some areas. “A certificate is not a silver bullet,” he said. About 20 percent of palm oil is produced by RSPO.

Finding an alternative to palm oil has been a challenge. Some hot oils – such as coconut oil – have lower yields than palm oil and can have far-reaching effects if grown at the same rate. Some non-hot oil – such as soybeans or corn oil – can be grown outside in the tropics, but it requires further refinement to replace palm oil in many places. That refinement is expensive, and produces refined oils, which the FDA banned in the United States in 2015.

Kelleher and Jeffries decided to sell their yeast as a better option. Microbes in the laboratory produce lipid-containing oils that are similar to palm oil. “Bedbugs,” as they are called yeast, can also be fed with non-heat-resistant materials, such as corn or sugarcane, or waste, such as corn husks and wheat stalks, which can significantly reduce production costs. . Microbial oils can also be manufactured anywhere, reducing the distance between factory and consumers.

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