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Frontiers in Agricultural Sustainability: Studying the Protein Supply Chain to Improve Dietary Quality

Frontiers in Agricultural Sustainability: Studying the Protein Supply Chain to Improve Dietary Quality

Thursday, December 12, 2013

The New York Academy of Sciences

Presented By


Population growth and changes in dietary practices globally have led to a tremendous rise in the demand for animal-source foods. While consuming the required amount of protein is fundamental to human health, protein needs can be met in many ways with animal or plant-source foods. Increased consumption of meat and other animal source foods worldwide is also connected to non-communicable diseases (NCDs), excessive individual intake, increased greenhouse gas emissions, and overutilization of water. Health and environment concerns exist because of the practices in livestock rearing, processing pre-packaged meat, and distribution. This conference will explore sustainable protein innovations in food science and programming that are aimed at producing the required quality and quantity of protein to consumers worldwide.

Scientific Organizing Committee

Bruce Cogill, PhD

Bioversity International

Girish Ganjyal, PhD

Washington State University

Michael Morrissey, PhD

Oregon State University

Nelson G. Almeida, PhD, FACN

Kellogg Company

Norberto Chaclin, MBA


Amy Beaudreault, PhD

The Sackler Institute for Nutrition Science

Mandana Arabi, MD, PHD

The Sackler Institute for Nutrition Science

*Reception to follow.

Registration Pricing

 By 12/05/2013After 12/05/2013Onsite
Student/Postdoc Member$15$40$65
Nonmember (Academia)$65$90$115
Nonmember (Corporate)$85$110$135
Nonmember (Non-profit)$65$90$115
Nonmember (Student / Postdoc / Fellow)$45$55$80

Presented by


* Presentation titles and times are subject to change.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

9:00 AM

Opening Remarks
Mandana Arabi, MD, PhD, Executive Director, The Sackler Institute for Nutrition Science

9:10 AM

Keynote: The Role of Agriculture in Diet: Quantity versus Quality
Barbara Burlingame, PhD, Deputy Director, Nutrition Division, FAO

Session 1. The Fundamental Science of Food Proteins

Session Chair: Nelson Almeida, PhD, FACN, Kellog Company

9:40 AM

Role of Proteins through a Macro Lens
Anna Thalacker-Mercer, PhD, Assistant Professor, Cornell University

10:05 AM

Land-based Animal Protein and Feed
Guoyao Wu, PhD, Texas A&M University; Distinguished Professor, Animal Nutrition; University Faculty Fellow, & AgriLife Research Faculty Fellow

10:30 AM

Plant-based Proteins as a Nutrition Source
Dennis Miller, PhD, Professor and Chair, Department of Food Science, Cornell University

10:55 AM

Discussion and Q/A

11:10 AM


Session 2. Sustainability Challenges and Bottlenecks

Session Chair: Norberto Chaclin, MBA, PepsiCo

11:30 AM

Impact of Protein Production on the Environment
Jean Steiner, PhD, United States Department of Agriculture

11:55 AM

Biodiversity and Nutritional Quality: Review of Evidence
Jessica Fanzo, PhD, Assistant Professor of Nutrition; Director of Nutrition Policy, Center on Globalization and Sustainable Development, Columbia University

12:20 PM

Protein Processing Challenges in Production
Josip Simunovic, PhD, Research Associate Professor with the Department of Food, Bioprocessing and Nutrition Sciences, North Carolina State University

12:45 PM

Discussion and Q/A

1:00 PM


Session 3. Innovative Programs and Approaches to Address the Sustainability Challenges of Protein Production

Session Chair: Michael Morrissey, PhD, Oregon State University

2:00 PM

Programmatic Solutions: The Tata-Cornell Agriculture and Nutrition Initiative at Cornell University
Prabhu Pingali, PhD, Cornell University, Professor of Applied Economics and Management and Director of the Tata-Cornell Agriculture and Nutrition Initiative

2:25 PM

Programmatic Solutions: Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Collaborative Research on Grain Legumes
Irvin Widders, PhD, Michigan State University; Professor; Director, Dry Grain Pulses CRSP

2:50 PM

Discussion and Q/A

3:05 PM


Panel: Innovations in Protein Supply Chain

Panel Chair: Michael Morrissey, PhD, Oregon State University
(15 minutes each, with 20 minute Panel Q&A)

3:30 PM

Cultured Consumption Meat
Mark Post, PhD, Maastricht University; Professor of Vascular Physiology; Chair of Physiology

3:45 PM

Biofabrication Protein for Human Consumption
Gabor Forgacs, PhD, University of Missouri-Columbia; George H Vineyard Professor of Theoretical Physics

4:00 PM

Nutrieculture: Transforming Global Nutrition
David Berry, PhD, Flagship Ventures

4:15 PM

Concentration and Characterization of Soy Whey Proteins from Isolated Soy Protein Waste Streams
Charles Schasteen, PhD, DuPont Nutrition & Health

4:30 PM

Panel Discussion

4:55 PM

Closing Remarks

5:00 PM


6:00 PM

Conference Adjourns


Keynote Speaker

Barbara Burlingame, PhD

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

Barbara Burlingame is the Deputy Director of FAO’s Nutrition Division. She obtained her undergraduate degrees from University of California, Davis (nutrition science and environmental toxicology) and her PhD from Massey University, New Zealand.  She is a member of several scientific advisory boards and international committees; author of many scientific papers and UN publications, book chapters and reference books; and is/has been editor of several food and nutrition journals during the last 25 years, including past Editor-in-Chief of Elsevier’s Journal of Food Composition and Analysis, and current Specialty Chief Editor of the new Frontiers in Nutrition and Environmental Sustainability. Her expertise includes food composition, nutrient requirements, dietary assessment, biodiversity for food and nutrition, and sustainable diets.


David Berry, PhD

Flagship Ventures

David Berry joined Flagship in 2005 where he focuses on innovating, entrepreneuring, and investing in new ventures in life sciences and sustainability.  He is a founder of Flagship portfolio companies LS9, Joule Unlimited, Eleven Biotherapeutics, Seres Health, Pronutria, among others.  David was founding CEO of Joule and Pronutria.  David previously completed his combined MD-PhD from Harvard Medical School and the MIT Biological Engineering Division in just over 5 years. He has been recognized with over 50 awards and honors as an innovator including receiving the prestigious Lemelson-MIT Student Prize for invention and innovation, being named the Innovator of the Year by Technology Review, and being selected by the US State Department as 1 of 12 Innovators Helping to Reshape Realty.  David previously served on the MIT Corporation, its Board of Trustees, and currently serves on the boards of multiple not-for-profits in education and the arts, and has been appointed to the United Nations Sustainable Development Solution Network Leadership Council.

Jessica Fanzo, PhD

Columbia University

Jessica Fanzo is an Assistant Professor of Nutrition in the Institute of Human Nutrition and Department of Pediatrics at Columbia University in New York. She also serves as the Senior Advisor of Nutrition Policy at the Center on Globalization and Sustainable Development. Before joining Columbia University, Jessica was the Evaluation and Monitoring Officer for the REACH Interagency partnership at the UN World Food Programme. From 2010-11, Jessica was a Senior Scientist at Bioversity International, a

CGIAR center, in Rome Italy, where she led their Nutrition and Biodiversity program. From 2007-2010, Jessica served as the Nutrition Director at the Center for Global Health and Economic Development at the Earth Institute, and the Nutrition Regional Advisor for East and Southern Africa at the Millennium Development Goal Centre at the World Agroforestry Centre in Kenya. Prior to joining the Earth Institute, she was a Program Officer for the Medical Research Program at the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.

Jessica became the first laureate in 2012 of the Daniel Carasso Premio for her work on sustainable food and diets for long-term human health. Jessica has a PhD in Nutrition from the University of Arizona and completed a Stephen I. Morse postdoctoral fellowship in Immunology at Columbia University.

Gabor Forgacs, PhD

University of Missouri-Columbia

Gabor Forgacs is the George Vineyard Professor of Biological Physics at the University of Missouri, Director of the Shipley Center for Innovation at Clarkson University and cofounder of the biotech companies Organovo and Modern Meadow. He received his PhD in theoretical physics from the Roland Eotvos University, Budapest, Hungary and the Landau Institute for theoretical Physics, Moscow, Russia. His present research focuses at physical mechanisms in early embryonic development, which he is applying to building functional living structures using tissue engineering technologies, such as bioprinting, he pioneered. He is the co-author of the celebrated text in the field, “Biological Physics of the Developing Embryo” (Cambridge University Press, 2005). He is the author of over 160 peer-reviewed scientific articles and 5 books. He has been recognized by numerous awards and citations, in particular, by FastCompany as one of the “100 most innovative people in business in 2010”.

Dennis Miller, PhD

Cornell University

Dennis Miller is Chair of the Department of Food Science and Professor of Food Chemistry and Nutrition at Cornell University.  He has a joint appointment in the Division of Nutritional Sciences and is a member of the graduate fields of Food Science and Technology and Nutrition.  Miller holds a PhD in nutrition from Cornell, a MS in biochemistry from the University of Washington, and a B.A. in chemistry from Augsburg College in Minnesota.  He teaches courses in food chemistry and nutrition.  His research interests include iron bioavailability from foods and the role of food systems in preventing micronutrient malnutrition.  Miller is a fellow of the Institute of Food Technologists and the International Academy of Food Science and Technology.  His awards include the Babcock-Hart Award from ILSI North America and the Institute of Food Technologists; the Professor of Merit Award for Outstanding Teaching and Advising from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Cornell University; and the Outstanding Alumni Award from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Alumni Association at Cornell University.

Prabhu Pingali, PhD

Cornell University

Prabhu Pingali is a Professor in the Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management and the Founding Director of the Tata-Cornell Agriculture and Nutrition Initiative. Prior to joining Cornell in June 2013, he was the Deputy Director, Agriculture Development Division of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, based in Seattle, Washington, from 2008–May 2013. Pingali was elected to the U.S. National Academy of Sciences as a Foreign Fellow in May 2007, a Fellow of the American Agricultural Economics Association (AAEA) in 2006, and a Fellow of the International Association of Agricultural Economists (IAAE) in 2009. He served as the President of IAAE from 2003–2006, and was named the 2010 Outstanding Alumnus of North Carolina State University. He has received several international awards for his work, including the Research Discovery Award from the AAEA. Pingali has over three decades of experience working with some of the leading international agricultural development organizations as a research economist, development practitioner and senior manager. He was the Director of the Agricultural and Development Economics Division of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations from 2002–2007, and the Director of the Economics Program at CIMMYT, Mexico, from 1996–2002. Prior to joining CIMMYT, he worked at the International Rice Research Institute at Los Banos, Philippines, from 1987 to 1996 as an Agricultural Economist, and at the World Bank's Agriculture and Rural Development Department from 1982–1987 as an economist.  Professor Pingali has written 10 books and over 100 referred journal articles and book chapters on food policy, technological change, productivity growth, environmental externalities, and resource management in the developing world.

Mark Post, PhD

Maastricht University

Professor Mark Post is a medical doctor who has had several appointments as assistant professor at Utrecht University, Harvard University, as associate professor at Dartmouth College, and as full professor and vice-Dean at Eindhoven University of Technology and Maastricht University. He currently holds the chair of the Physiology Department at Maastricht University. His main research interest is the engineering of tissues for medical applications and for food. The medical applications focus on the construction of blood vessels that can be used as grafts for coronary artery bypass grafting. Tissue engineering for food has led to the development of cultured beef from bovine skeletal muscle stem cells in an effort to supplement and perhaps transform the traditional meat production through livestock. Dr Post co-authored 150 papers in leading peer-reviewed scientific journals and received during his career more than 35 million dollars in funding and awards from different sources including government, charity and industry. In August 2013, he presented the world’s first hamburger from cultured beef.

Charles Schasteen, PhD

DuPont Nutrition & Health

Chuck Schasteen is Senior Science Fellow for DuPont Nutrition and Health with over 30 years of industry research and development experience.  Chuck is working to determine the molecular mechanism by which soy protein lowers cholesterol in humans in support of Soy's FDA Health claim and future products related to that ability.  He is also focused on the Sustainable New Products Project to reclaim protein, sugar and minerals for new product opportunities and water for environmental stewardship.  Prior to joining DuPont Nutrition and Health, Dr. Schasteen was Director of Biochemistry and Analytical Research for Novus International and held technical leadership positions with Monsanto / G.D. Searle Company. Chuck is a biochemist by training (Ph.D. University of Kansas) and is the author of more than 40 peer reviewed journal articles and 2 book chapters on subjects spanning drug design and inhibitor-enzyme molecular modeling, toxicology, enzymatic synthesis, protein digestibility prediction, reperfusion injury following heart attack and microbial population control in the gut.  He is also the inventor or co-inventor on 14 US and over 80 patents worldwide.  He is an active member of the Protein Society, American Chemical Society, executive and laboratory Council of the American Feed Industry Association, and the American Oil Chemists Society. He resides with his wife Beth and Welsh Corgi Walter in University City, Missouri.

Josip Simunovic, PhD

North Carolina State University

Josip Simunovic is a Research Associate Professor with the Department of Food, Bioprocessing and Nutrition Sciences at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, NC.Josip has over 30 years of experience in research, development and implementation of novel methods, devices and processes for advanced thermal processing and aseptic packaging of foods and biomaterials. He has been granted 12 U.S. and over 30 international patents. As an inventor and developer he has contributed to the creation and commercialization of several advanced technologies for aseptic processing and process safety validation which resulted in construction of new processing facilities and introduction of new food products to consumer markets in Europe and North America. He is a co-founder of Aseptia/Wright Foods, state of the art aseptic food processing company that produces shelf stable fruit and vegetable products with superior nutrient and flavor retention.

He is the recipient of the 2008 Food Engineering Award from the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, 2009 Institute of Food Technologists Industrial Achievement Award, 2010 USDA/ARS Technology Transfer Award,  2012 Marvin Tung Award from the Institute for Thermal Processing Specialists and the 2012 Innovator of the Year Award from North Carolina State University.

Josip received a Bachelor of Science degree in Food Technology from Josip Juraj Strossmayer University in Osijek, Croatia; M.S. in Food Science and Human Nutrition from the University of Florida as a Fullbright Scholar and a Ph.D. in Food Science in 1998. from North Carolina State University with a dissertation titled “Particle Flow Monitoring in Multiphase Aseptic Systems.”

Jean Steiner, PhD

United States Department of Agriculture

Jean L. Steiner is the Director of the Grazinglands Research Laboratory in El Reno, where she conducts research on watersheds and climate and leads research in sustainable forage-grazing systems.  She has been employed by the Agricultural Research Service since 1983, first in the Texas Panhandle, focusing on water conservation, crop residue management, and energy balance research in dryland agricultural systems and then leading research in the Georgia Piedmont region focused on sustainability of agriculture at farm and watershed scales, prior to the Grazinglands Research Laboratory in Oklahoma in 2001.  Dr. Steiner is the Co-Director of the Grazing CAP project entitled “Resilience and Vulnerability of Beef Cattle Production in the Southern Great Plains Under Changing Climate, Land Use and Markets”  Dr. Steiner has served on the Board of Directors and as President of the Soil and Water Conservation Society.  She also has served as Chair of the Agroclimatology and Agronomic Modeling Division, Member of the Board of Directors, and is currently the 2014 President-Elect of the American Society of Agronomy.

Anna Thalacker-Mercer, PhD

Cornell University

Anna Thalacker-Mercer, PhD received a doctorate through the Interdepartmental Nutrition Program in the Department of Nutrition Science at Purdue University where she developed a strong background in geriatric nutrition (predominately dietary protein), nutritional genomics, protein metabolism, and mechanisms underlying aging skeletal muscle. She continued her research training and professional development as a Postdoctoral Fellow in the competitive NIH T32 Obesity Training Program and the Center for Aging Translational Research Program at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). In December 2010 was promoted to Assistant Professor in the UAB Department of Cell, Developmental, and Integrative Biology. She was recruited in 2012 to Cornell University, where she currently resides as an Assistant Professor in the Division of Nutritional Sciences. Her research focuses on mechanisms underlying skeletal muscle metabolic dysfunction in aging and chronic disease and the efficacy of nutrition and exercise interventions for the treatment of sarcopenia and metabolic dysfunction.

Irvin Widders, PhD

Michigan State University

Irvin Widders earned a PhD in plant physiology from the University of California, Davis.  He joined the Department of Horticulture at Michigan State University in 1982 and currently holds the rank of Professor.  The focus of his research program has been on environmental physiology and the regulation of ion transport in plants.  Dr. Widders was responsible for teaching undergraduate and graduate courses in Environmental Physiology, Vegetable Crop Production, and Plant Mineral Nutrition.  He also coordinated semester-long study abroad programs in Peru and Costa Rica (1996-2010). Dr. Widders has been actively engaged in international programs at Michigan State University.  He served as Director for the Bean/Cowpea Collaborative Research Support Program (CRSP) (2000-2007), the Dry Grain Pulses CRSP (2007-2012), and the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Collaborative Research on Grain Legumes (Legume Innovation Lab, 2013-2017). MSU is the Management Entity of this Title XII program, funded by the USAID’s Bureau of Food Security, which partners U.S. universities with institutions in SubSaharan Africa and Latin America in collaborative research and capacity building.  Under Dr. Widders’ leadership, the program has expanded in technical scope to include research on human nutrition, has developed international ties with CGIAR grain legume research programs, and has achieved impacts that improve the livelihoods of the poor in developing countries who grow, market and consume grain legumes.

Guoyao Wu, PhD

Texas A&M University

Guoyao Wu is a University Distinguished Professor, University Faculty Fellow, and AgriLife Research Senior Faculty Fellow in the Department of Animal Science at Texas A&M University.  Dr. Wu also holds a joint appointment with Department of Medical Physiology at Texas A&M Health Science Center. He received the B.S. degree in Animal Science from South China Agricultural University (1978-1982); an M.S. degree in Animal Nutrition from China Agricultural University (1982-1984); M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Animal Biochemistry from University of Alberta in Canada (1984-1986 and 1986-1989, respectively). Dr. Wu undertook postdoctoral training in Biochemistry and Nutrition at McGill University (1989-1991) and Memorial University of Newfoundland (1991) in Canada.  His research interests include the biochemistry, nutrition and physiology of amino acids and proteins in animals at molecular, cellular, and whole body levels.  He has published 399 papers in peer-reviewed journals, 49 book chapters, and 1 book entitled "Amino Acids: Biochemistry and Nutrition" (CRC Press, USA). Dr. Wu's articles have been cited more than 10,000 times in the SCI database, with an H index of 55. His research has been supported by Ajinomoto Inc. (Japan), American Heart Association, Chinese Academy of Sciences, International Council of Amino Acid Sciences, International Glutamate Technical Committee, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, National Natural Science Foundation of China, NIH, Texas A&M University, and USDA. Dr. Wu is a member and elected Fellow of American Association for the Advancement of Science.  He has served on the editorial advisory boards of Biochemical Journal, Journal of Animal Science and Biotechnology, Journal of Nutrition, and Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, and currently is an editor of Amino Acids, SpringerPlus: Amino Acids Collections, Journal of Amino Acids, and Frontiers in Bioscience.

Session Chairs

Norberto Chaclin, MBA


Norberto Chaclin is a Sr. Director in Corporate R&D Strategy and has been with PepsiCo since 2000 in various roles in product development, innovation, Global R&D Strategy and business development.  Norberto is currently responsible for developing a Research portfolio strategy and managing business alignment on long term research investment.  Previously, Norberto facilitated PepsiCo’s Human Sustainability initiatives and supported PepsiCo’s business development strategy in Sub-Saharan Africa, conducting several market immersions.  In addition, Norberto lead PepsiCo’s under nutrition business development initiative, which resulted in the pilot launch of Lehar Iron Chusti (iron fortified snacks) in India.  Norberto’s prior assignments were primarily on product innovation for Lay’s, Dips and Rold Gold Pretzels. Norberto has an MBA from Southern Methodist University and a BS in Chemical Engineering from Texas A&M University.  Norberto is a native of Curacao (Dutch Caribbean) and currently lives in White Plains, NY.

Michael T. Morrissey, PhD

Oregon State University

Dr. Michael T. Morrissey is a Professor of Food Science and Technology at Oregon State University (OSU) and is currently the Director of the OSU Food Innovation Center in Portland, OR. He was previously Director of the OSU Seafood Laboratory from 1990 to 2009. The Food Innovation Center is part of the College of Agriculture Experiment Stations and is unique in its urban location and its mission to promote agri-businesses and start-up food companies. He has published more than 95 articles in food safety, seafood quality, product development, fish species identification and by-product utilization. He has been invited as a scientific lecturer by Fundacion-Chile, the National Fisheries Institute of Peru, the Japanese Society of Fisheries Science, and other countries and served as a member of the external Advisory Board for SEAFOODplus, a multidisciplinary project involving 17 European countries. Dr. Morrissey has received the OSU Oldfield-Jackman Team Award (1996) for Pacific whiting research, the Earl P. McPhee Award (1999) for his contributions to seafood science and the Briskey Award for Faculty Excellence from the College of Agricultural Sciences at OSU (2004). He was elected an Institute of Food Technology (IFT) Fellow in 2003.

Nelson G. Almeida, PhD, FACN

Kellogg Company

Dr. Nelson Almeida is the Vice President of Global Nutrition, Scientific Affairs and Technology Scouting of the Kellogg Company. He leads the nutrition, food ingredient and regulatory science groups that enable food and nutrition innovation on a global basis. He also represents the Kellogg Company externally in technical leadership roles in various professional, academic, research and industry organizations dedicated to nutrition, food, regulatory and health sciences. He holds a PhD in Nutritional Sciences (Clinical Nutrition) from Cornell University and has other degrees in Food Science, Nutrition and Biochemical Engineering from the United States and Mexico. Dr. Almeida has been a scientific reviewer for nutrition and food scientific journals since 1998 and has authored and co-authored numerous peer-reviewed technical publications in Nutrition and Food Science Journals.


The Role of Agriculture in Diet: Quantity versus Quality
Barbara Burlingame, PhD, Deputy Director, Nutrition Division; Food and Agricultural Organization

We have a problem: malnutrition. For all the effort, time, money, policies and programs thrown at this problem, it persists, and it persists in many different forms. The agriculture sector has long regarded food as the basic unit of nutrition, while leaving the health sector to address nutrients as its basic unit. For every success we have had in both these sectors, we’ve had an equal, if not greater, number of failures in the form of intractability, trade-offs and unintended consequences. All the while, as the foci of attention were on food and individual nutrients, the issue of whole diets, and sustainable diets, was largely neglected.
The success of agriculture has been increases in food quantity; that is higher production achieved through intensification, improved seeds, potent and aggressive agricultural chemical use. As a result, the world has more than enough food, measured as dietary energy, to feed its 7 billion people. But the trade-offs are many. Undernourishment, estimated at 850 million, has been intractable in many population, and yet in others, it has been substituted by an epidemic of obesity and its associated chronic disease. Both polar extremes of the body mass spectrum are disproportionately rooted in poverty. In addition, natural resource stress, environmental degradation and biodiversity loss have been collateral damage.
Superimposed on this quantity issue, is the problem of quality, often represented as micronutrient malnutrition, and even protein malnutrition, affecting people at every level of the body mass spectrum. International agriculture has stubbornly ignored quality issues for decades. Thus, the health sector assumed control and addressed it, not through food, but through pharmaceutical/clinical approaches with single or a small subset of micronutrients as supplements, fortificants and ready-to-use therapeutic formulations. Most of us realize that rarely does a measured deficiency, say of vitamin A, iron or zinc, represent a deficiency of only that nutrient; rather the measured deficiency is a marker for poor quality diet, missing the many hundreds of beneficial bioactive components, in balanced quantities and proper chemical forms, within appropriate matrices with all the necessary co-factors.
Through a number of processes coming together, sustainable diets, as an implementable concept, is being explored. This necessarily links agriculture, health and the environment sectors for providing sustainable solutions to the multiple burdens of malnutrition. It also recognizes that human health and environmental health cannot be separated. One of the Rio+20 outcomes was the Zero Hunger Challenge issued by the UN Secretary General. The first pillar addresses quantity of food related to hunger; the second to quality of diets, with stunting as the indicator. Sustainability diets, i.e., “all food systems are sustainable,” occupies the third and central position in the ZHC. The fourth pillar is poverty, reflected as livelihoods for smallholder farmers, and the fifth, food losses and waste, is another of the proxies for reducing pressures on natural resources.
This presentation will review key policy instruments related to diet quality; new data, methods, indicators and indices for measuring and monitoring sustainable diets; dietary interventions and case studies that use food biodiversity and characterize agro-ecological zones for provisioning healthy, sustainable diets. Through nutrition-specific and nutrition-sensitive activities, the agriculture sector is addressing this issue of quality, as well as quantity, in the context of diet as the basic unit of nutrition and a fundamental part of agriculture’s responsibility.


Session 1. The Fundamental Science of Food Proteins

Role of Proteins through a Macro Lens
Anna Thalacker-Mercer, PhD, Assistant Professor, Division of Nutritional Sciences; Cornell University

Protein and its building blocks, amino acids, play many functional, structural, metabolic, and developmental roles in the body; therefore, adequate dietary protein is essential for overall health. Defining an optimum amount of dietary protein that is appropriate to maintain the availability of amino acids for biological needs is necessary, but has not been achieved in older individuals. Acute studies demonstrate that older adults have an impaired skeletal muscle protein synthesis response to dietary protein and the amino acid leucine; however, whether an acute response translates to blunted muscle accretion is unclear and a hotly debated topic. Lately amino acids have been in the spotlight for their potential role in insulin resistance. Early on, higher levels of branched chain amino acids (BCAA), primarily leucine, were observed in obese and insulin resistant individuals. More recently, with the emergence of metabolomics, BCAA have been identified as the best early predictor for the future development of diabetes and prognostic for improved insulin sensitivity following interventions and bariatric surgery. We also identified the amino acid glycine as being tightly correlated with insulin action; leucine/isoleucine and glycine were the strongest predictors for insulin action in non-obese individuals, while glycine alone is the only predictor of insulin action in obese. Whether amino acids play a causal role in metabolic dysfunction or are just a biomarker, it is unclear. Overall, many questions remain about dietary protein and amino acids for optimum health.

Land-based Production of Animal Proteins
Guoyao Wu, PhD, Distinguished Professor, Animal Nutrition; University Faculty Fellow, & AgriLife Research Faculty Fellow; Texas A&M University

Animal proteins, which are primarily produced by land-based livestock species (e.g., pigs, cattle, sheep, and goats) and poultry, contain balanced amounts of all amino acids for human consumption and for optimal human growth, development, and health. Additionally, animal, but not plant, products (e.g., meat) provides taurine (a sulfur-containing amino acid) that is essential for protecting the eyes, heart, skeletal muscle, and other tissues of mammals (including humans) from oxidative damage and degeneration. These underscore the significance and importance of animal agriculture for the mankind. The population of the world was approximately 6.85 billion in 2010 and is projected to be 9.31 billion in 2050. Average meat consumption per capita is expected to increase from 42 kg in 2010 to 50 kg in 2050 due to increases in income and dietary preference for nutritious foods. Accordingly, global meat production will increase from 288 million tons in 2010 to 466 million tons in 2050. Because livestock and poultry are fed plant (e.g., corn, wheat, and soybean)-based diets, these animals compete with humans for grain foods whose global supply has been estimated to be relatively stagnant within the next 40 years. An attractive solution to solving this problem is to increase the efficiency of animal growth and reproduction. Breeding techniques can partially achieve this goal, but have limited successes due to the nature of animal biology as some traits (e.g., litter size and disease resistance) have low heritability values. At present, efficiencies of the conversion of dietary proteins into tissue proteins in livestock species and poultry remain suboptimal (e.g., 40-45% for broilers, 35-55% for growing pigs, and 25-30% for beef cattle). This is constrained by high rates of amino acid catabolism by intestinal bacteria and protein degradation in the small intestine, as well as low rates of protein synthesis in skeletal muscle. Promising means to ameliorate these problems include: (1) dietary supplementation with low-cost amino acids (e.g., glutamate, glutamine, glycine and arginine) to inhibit intestinal amino acid catabolism, thereby enhancing the entry of dietary amino acids into the blood circulation; (2) formulation of low-protein diets by considering the needs of all peptide-bound amino acids, particularly those with regulatory functions (namely, functional amino acids), to optimize the proportion and amounts of all amino acids for increasing protein synthesis, defensive capacities, and reproductive performance; and (3) activating cell signaling pathways through genetic and dietary means to promote synthesis of amino acids and initiation of polypeptide formation in animals. Improvements in farm animal productivity will not only reduce the contamination of soils, groundwater, and air by excessive excretion of animal wastes, but will also help sustain animal agriculture to produce high-quality proteins for the growing population in the face of reducing resources worldwide.

Plant-based Proteins as a Nutrition Source
Dennis D. Miller, PhD, Professor and Chair, Department of Food Science; Cornell University

Plant-based foods have been a source of protein for humans for millennia, providing about 2/3 of total protein intake globally and about 1/3 in North America. Cereals and legumes are the major sources plant proteins in human diets. Both the quantity and quality of protein are determinants of the adequacy of diets for meeting protein requirements. Most plant proteins are “incomplete” in that they are deficient in one or more of the indispensable amino acids. Mixtures of different plant protein sources may be complementary, with one source providing the amino acid that is limiting in another source and vice versa, thereby making the mixture of plant proteins “complete” sources of amino acids. In many societies, traditional diets contain both a cereal and a legume, e.g. maize and beans, which are complementary and meet protein requirements. Some plant-based foods contain inhibitors that reduce protein digestibility. Fortunately, these inhibitors can be inactivated by adequate heat processing. Cereals and legumes contain phytates and other factors which may inhibit the absorption of trace minerals such as iron and zinc. Diets high in these foods may increase the risk for certain micronutrient deficiencies. Protein malnutrition remains a significant public health problem in many areas of the world. Shibani Ghosh recently estimated that the risk of protein inadequacy in sub Saharan Africa and parts of Asia is between 10 and 30%. Diets composed of primarily plant-based foods can meet requirements for protein and micronutrients but incorporation of meat, milk, and eggs into diets will reduce the risk of protein and micronutrient deficiencies, especially in children.


Session 2. Sustainability Challenges and Bottlenecks

Impact of Protein Production on the Environment
Jean L. Steiner, PhD, Agricultural Research Service, United States Department of Agriculture

Grasslands constitute the largest global land use and are an important part of agricultural and ecological systems on every continent, across a wide range of potential productivity. Ruminant livestock grazing on these lands constitutes an important, and often the only viable, form of agricultural production. It is estimated that 1 billion people depend on livestock, and livestock serves as at least a partial source of income and food security for 70 percent of the world’s 880 million rural poor who live on less than USD 1.00 per day. In the southern Great Plains of the USA, beef-forage grazing systems which dominate the agricultural land use and farm-gate income are subject to extreme variability in climate, economics, and policy. Increasing the resilience of these agroecosystems to withstand variable climate conditions, highly dynamic markets, and a range of federal and state agricultural, energy, and environmental policy drivers is essential. Research across the spectrum of cropland, pastureland, and prairie that is characteristic of the Great Plains is needed to identify sustainable forage-based production systems that are adaptable across enterprise types, from large-scale commercial livestock operations that dominate production and economics to small farms that dominate the landscape, particularly in the southeastern portions of the region. The presentation will describe a multi-institutional research and extension collaboration focused on management of these systems to support vibrant rural economies, promote biological diversity (soil, plant, and animal), reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and increase soil organic matter, with corresponding positive impacts on carbon sequestration, water and air quality and agricultural sustainability. Developing and delivering knowledge and tools to support the diverse agricultural systems that comprise the fabric of the Southern Plains landscape in the face of complex interactive climate, policy, and economics drivers can help producers better meet consumer needs and preferences for sustainable food systems.

Biodiversity and Nutritional Quality: Review of Evidence
Jessica Fanzo, PhD, Assistant Professor of Nutrition, Institute of Human Nutrition and Department of Pediatrics Senior Advisor of Nutrition Policy, Center for Globalization and Sustainable Development; Columbia University

Redirecting the global agricultural system as the supplier of the world’s food, to ensure better nutrition is crucial. Now more than ever, we need to better define new and sustainable approaches to improving the quality and variety of food produced and consumed around the world that meet critical nutrient gaps, such as protein, essential fats and micronutrients.
The role that agriculture plays in dietary diversity and nutrition outcomes is central and nutrition must be central as a major outcome and goal of agriculture and production systems, as a potential avenue to improving dietary diversity, food quality and human health as well restoring or preserving ecosystems.
One area that requires further understanding is the role of agricultural biodiversity in improving dietary diversity and quality. Agricultural biodiversity is potentially important to food systems because it provides the basis of sustaining life—the diverse traits exhibited among crops, animals and other organisms used for food and agriculture, as well as the web of relationships that bind these forms of life at ecosystem, species, and genetic levels. Agricultural biodiversity is the basis of the food and nutrient value chain and its use can be an important contributor to food and nutritional security. But a question remains on how to best promote the use of agricultural biodiversity within food production systems that provide nutritionally-rich food sources, contribute to dietary diversity and quality and, potentially, promote better nutrition and health. However questions remain and evidence is scant.
This presentation will focus on:
  1. The evidence base for the role of biodiversity in nutrition and health and the means of incorporating agricultural biodiversity, specifically, into food and nutritional systems approaches;
  2. The links between agro-ecosystems and nutrition and dietary outcomes and how protein gaps can be addressed;
  3. Early lessons on what agricultural biodiversity practices and delivery systems work on the ground in development programs to improve nutritional security; and
  4. What role agricultural biodiversity plays in public health and nutrition policy and practice.

A summary of evidence and early practices will be presented from various regions of the world. Trade-offs and economies of scale will also be presented on how agricultural biodiversity can fill or not fill nutrient gaps, in particular protein and micronutrients in the current context of climate variability, urbanization and the nutrition transition and economic growth.

Advanced Thermal Processing Technologies in Development and Distribution of Muscle Food Products
Josip Simunovic, PhD, Research Associate Professor with the Department of Food, Bioprocessing and Nutrition Sciences; North Carolina State University

Industrial processing and preservation of muscle foods remains limited in the scope of available technologies and modes of subsequent distribution and consumption. Refrigeration and freezing, the dominant modes of preservation, require intense energy consumption and temperature maintenance throughout the distribution cycle; typically result in products requiring a thermal treatment before consumption, susceptible to degradation and spoilage due to limited shelf life and potential temperature abuse during distribution and storage.
Over the last decade, advanced thermal processing and aseptic packaging have been gradually changing the capabilities of industrial food preservation, through the introduction of emerging technologies for heating and sterilization, new devices and methods for process parameter monitoring and process validation. This has led to an expansion of potential processing and marketing targets, resulting in unique products with superior sensory and nutritional properties.
The attraction of broadening the spectrum of new target materials is increasing with the introduction of new technologies, and R&D protocols need to be implemented to establish the feasibility of production, while maintaining the flexibility to modify installations as new needs emerge.
Potential for application of advanced food preservation methods to improve safety, shelf life and nutritional profile of muscle food products will be discussed, with an emphasis on new product development and distribution.


Session 3. Innovative Programs and Approaches to Address the Sustainability Challenges of Protein Production

Tata-Cornell Agriculture and Nutrition Initiative (TCi): Our Vision and Strategy
Prabhu Pingali, PhD, Professor of Applied Economics and Management and Director of the Tata-Cornell Agriculture and Nutrition Initiative; Cornell University

The Tata-Cornell Agriculture and Nutrition Initiative (TCi) is a long-term research initiative focusing on the design and evaluation of innovative interventions linking agriculture, food systems, human nutrition, and poverty in India. TCi was established with a $25 million USD endowment given to Cornell University from the Tata Education and Development Trust, a philanthropic branch of the Tata Group. The endowment was made possible by the vision of Mr. Ratan Tata, the chairman of India’s Tata Group and a Cornell alumnus from the class of ’62.
Throughout India and throughout the world, households and individuals face challenges to accessing the food they need and sharing it amongst all members of the household in an environment that allows them to efficiently metabolize and absorb nutrients. Household food access rests on the ability for a family unit to consume the quantity, quality, and diversity of food needed to achieve daily micronutrient, energy, and protein needs. The Tata-Cornell Agriculture and Nutrition Initiative focuses on five areas of research that provide direction and answers to policymakers and practitioners looking to influence household food access and individual nutrition.
Regarding household food access, TCi focuses on opportunities to a) increase household income and local food supply and 2) increase micronutrient food availability through targeted social safety net programs. Household incomes are determined by the productivity of smallholder farmer operations, the opportunities available for non-farm income and other employment, and the seasonality of farm income and off-farm employment; all of which may wax and wane annually. In this area, TCi looks at research around agriculture-led growth strategies, including labor dynamics, new market opportunities and other economic and farm productivity aspects that can provide nutritional impact by expanding household incomes and household food supply. Gains in income and food affordability must be matched by actual food availability. As a result, TCi prioritizes research looking at the availability of micronutrients in rural areas.
Micronutrient food availability is determined by a number of factors, including the spatial location of the household and their proximity to diverse food retailers, the seasonality of nutrient-dense food, the availability of food storage infrastructure and transportation (among other dynamics). TCi promotes research around agricultural diversification and food production diversification, the distribution of micronutrient foods spatially and temporally in a given region, and effectiveness of government micro-nutrient and food-based interventions and the national, state, and local-level.
Thirdly, TCi focuses in intra-familial food distribution and nutrition amongst individuals in a common household unit. Individuals often differ in terms of individual food intake and individual food needs, but more research is needed to understand the reasons why and the options for positive behavior change. Distribution within a household may favor men and older boys, allowing them to eat first and select the amount and quality they desire. Women, and young children are often left with the food that remains, suffering complications like anemia and other micronutrient deficiencies at higher rates. TCi advances research looking at positive behavior changes within the household, the impact of women's Self Help groups on female empowerment and behavior change, and further evaluates how household characteristics might influence the distribution of nutrients within the home.
Fourth, TCi research considers the environment, including clean access and sanitation practices that are central to full nutrient absorption and complete biological utilization. Drinking water supply and sanitation in India continues to be inadequate, and intestinal inflammation and infection due to water contaminated with worms, parasites, viruses and bacteria leads to partial or complete mal-absorption of essential nutrients to calories, in addition to life-threatening dehydration. TCi works to advance research and development of village-level purification plants, sanitation measures including the construction of toilets and other food safety processes.
Finally, TCi is committed to advancing a set of standardized nutrition metrics that can be used in agriculture surveys in order to estimate baselines, track progress, and understand trends over time. Unfortunately in India and elsewhere, multi-sectorial household surveys that include agriculture, health, and nutrition information in a common survey are rare. This has made made the empirical basis and understanding for agriculture-nutrition pathways weak. TCi is looking to strengthen and support existing data collection attempts and pilot new ways of integrating these multi-faceted areas of human behavior into a single survey to be used in a variety of regions and contexts.

Programmatic Solutions: Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Collaborative Research on Grain Legumes
Irvin Widders, Professor and Director of the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Collaborative Research on Grain Legumes (Legume Innovation Lab); Michigan State University

Dry edible grain legumes (i.e., common bean, cowpea, chickpea, pigeon pea, lentil, etc.) are protein-rich nutrient-dense staple foods that compliment start-rich staple foods (i.e., maize, cassava, rice, etc.) in traditional value of diets of the poor around the world, thus enhancing their nutritional quality. Under USAID’s Feed the Future Global Food Security Research Strategy, grain legumes are critical to achieving enhanced dietary diversity and nutritional quality for improved nutrition of young children and women of child bearing age. The Legume Innovation Lab has adopted dual strategic research objectives to address under-nutrition among both rural and urban poor populations in developing countries; (1) to increase productivity of edible grain legumes so as to enhance grain availability and affordability to the poor, and (2) to increase knowledge of the nutritional value and role of grain legumes in diets. This strategy also seeks to invest in technologies and knowledge that benefit women as a means of achieving nutritional outcomes as they are both the principle producers of grain legumes and household food providers. The nutritional value of grain legumes is hypothesized, however, to be greater than the cumulative benefits from their nutritional constituents (high protein content, complex carbohydrates, fiber, essential mineral elements, etc.) through its potential role in promoting gut micro-biome health, reducing intestinal inflammation and enhancing nutrient absorption. To realize the full nutritional potential of grain legumes in diets, the Legume Innovation Lab contends that research is also needed to improve protein quality and content in dry grain, to reduce cooking time, to preserve nutritional quality of processed legume-based foods, and to better understand culinary preferences and socio-economic factors that are constraining grain legume consumption by urban and rural poor in developing countries.


Innovations in Protein Supply Chain

Cultured Consumption Meat
Mark Post, PhD, Maastricht University

The food-security and environmental issues with livestock beef production are due to the inefficient bioconversion rate of 15% for cows. Current stem cell and tissue engineering technology present opportunities to culture meat with a higher efficiency. We presented proof that the technology is ready to culture meat. There is however still a tremendous amount of work ahead to eventually get an efficient, cost-effective and high quality meat product. The versatility of the meat culture process offers additional yet unexplored opportunities such as alternative meat products that for instance contain healthier fatty acids, or blended meats from various stem cell sources to create new flavors. It is inevitable that we come up with a resource, environment and animal friendly alternative to livestock meat, so we better should warm up to the idea that this alternative might be cultured meat.

Biofabrication Protein for Human Consumption
Gabor Forgacs, PhD, George H. Vineyard Professor of Theoretical Physics; University of Missouri-Columbia

We describe an automated rapid prototyping method (bioprinting) that allows engineering fully biological three-dimensional custom-shaped living structures. In this technology, bio-ink units, conveniently prepared multicellular aggregates, together with supporting material are delivered by special printers. Printing of the bio-ink units is carried out according to a design template, consistent with the geometry and composition of the desired tissue or organ module. Structure formation occurs by post-printing by mechanisms akin to those occurring in embryonic development. The technology is being successfully been used for applications in regenerative medicine and pharmaceutical industry. Here we discuss the motivation and the way to adapt the technology for building animal protein products, such as meat, in an economically viable, environmentally friendly and ethically acceptable way (i.e. without the need to slaughter animals).

Nutrieculture: Transforming Global Nutrition
David Berry, PhD, Flagship Ventures

With global food prices at record levels, global under-nutrition nearing record levels, climate change threatening to undermine food security across half the globe, and the UN FAO estimating that food production must double by 2050 in order to feed an additional 2 billion people, new and innovative solutions are urgently needed to secure sustainable nutrient sources for the world. We are pioneering a transformative new approach to meeting the world's growing global health and nutrition needs by producing pure, nutritious proteins and other essential nutrients directly from solar energy—without the requirement for agricultural land or fresh water. Our sunlight-to-nutrient technology radically improves upon traditional processes of agriculture to allow the first continuous conversion of solar energy, air, and salt water into pure nutrients—tailored directly to our essential and performance nutritional needs. The resulting platform provides the first climate-independent technology for global nutrition, with the potential to produce essential nutrients in non-arable regions at stable, ultra-low costs and at up to 1,000-fold higher areal productivities than traditional agricultural methods.

Concentration and Characterization of Soy Whey Proteins from Isolated Soy Protein Waste Streams
Charles Schasteen, PhD, DuPont Nutrition and Health Protein Solutions, St. Louis, MO

Typical isolated soy protein (ISP) processes only convert 44% of the incoming feed material (defatted soy flakes) into commercial products. A significant percentage of the process streams are disposed of via costly waste water treatment operations. A process was tested for the separation and concentration of ISP whey to create sustainable new product combinations of protein, soluble carbohydrates and minerals. ISP whey is defined as the final separation supernatant from the acid precipitated ISP process. ISP whey contains protein, mineral, and carbohydrates. Soy whey protein (SWP) is primarily comprised of those proteins purified and concentrated from the ISP whey. The current process consists of several concentration and separation steps, including membrane filtration and centrifugation. The material is then spray dried, screened, and optionally blended with soy oil or lecithin to reduce dusting. The unit operation tests generated samples with protein content exceeding 80% (dry basis) for the SWP and had a unique amino acid composition, which will be presented. These SWP samples showed unprecedented acid solubility (>90%) across a range of pH (3-6), low viscosity (with minimal shear impact), emulsion interfacial tension properties similar to sodium caseinate and foaming capability unmatched by dairy proteins. The potential opportunities to create new healthy ingredients from SWP will be proposed.

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