Портал по вопросам поддержки политики и управления

Issue paper

Microbiome: The missing link? Science and innovation for health, climate and sustainable food systems

Unhealthy diets now pose a greater risk to morbidity and mortality than unsafe sex, alcohol, and drug and tobacco use combined. They are at the root of the global obesity and diet-related non-communicable disease (NCD) pandemic. The ways of food production that lead to these unhealthy diets also pose a major threat to climate stability and ecosystem resilience, and constitute the most important driver of environmental degradation and natural resources depletion.

In the short term, there is little that we can do to curb the global demand for food and other products that depend on biological resources. Demand will continue to rise as the world population grows to ten billion before eventually shrinking again. However, by taking a bio-economy approach, we can alter the nature of this demand and the processes through which the food system and bioeconomy meet that demand. This approach could accommodate the necessary increases in agricultural production, without continuing to degrade our natural resource base. In fact, bioscience is uncovering the pathways and common drivers behind the triple challenge of obesity and NCDs, climate change, and biodiversity loss. In the process, microbiology and the inter-disciplinary study of the microbiome have rediscovered microorganisms as a vast and untapped natural resource with great potential to shift the balance of the ‘nature – food systems – people’ equation back into the healthy zone