Contributions to a Sustainable Production of Food of Animal Origin

  • Gerhard Flachowsky
  • Dirk von Soosten
  • Ulrich Meyer


Sustainability in human food chain characterizes the global balance/equilibrium between efficient use of limited natural resources (such as arable land, water, fuel etc.), emissions (e.g. carbon dioxide, methane, laughing gas etc.) and socio-economic and ethical aspects as base for the existence of future generations.

Sustainability in the production of food of animal origin or edible protein means an efficient production. Such calculations should not only include the food chain links “feed – animal – food of animal origin” but the whole food chain. A system has the highest efficiency or the largest sustainability if it is impossible to improve one parameter without deterioration of one or more other parameters.

After introduction, the authors define the term sustainability and deduce the objective of the review paper. Protein of animal origin is the main point of the paper, and it is in the focus of the following sections. Resource inputs in form of edible land, water, fuel, etc. and outputs in form of animal yields (e.g. milk, eggs, meat, fish, etc.) and emissions are described, and reduction potentials for emissions are measured. Some potentials to improve sustainability of production of food of animal origin, such as feeds, which do not compete with human nutrition, plant and animal breeding, potentials of other protein sources and alternatives of animal products in nutrition including reduction of feed/food losses are discussed in the paper.

More complex calculations under consideration of parameters of efficient use of limited resources and reduction of emissions seem to be helpful to find out a certain optimum in production of food of animal origin.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gerhard Flachowsky
    • 1
  • Dirk von Soosten
    • 1
  • Ulrich Meyer
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Animal NutritionFriedrich-Loeffler-Institute (FLI), Federal Research Institute of Animal HealthBraunschweigGermany

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