Research Associate at ALLFED - Alliance to Feed the Earth in Disasters https://www.linkedin.com/in/juan-garcia-martinez/

"The essential thing was to save the greatest possible number of persons from dying and being doomed to unending separation. And to do this there was only one resource: to fight the plague. There was nothing admirable about this attitude; it was merely logical." - Albert Camus, The Plague

Altruism is the rational response to an irrational world.


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EAGxVirtual 2020 lightning talks

Hello, Juan here. Here's the final version of the paper I mentioned we were working on during my talk for those who would like to know more: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.spc.2020.08.011

Thanks for taking the time to transcribe the talks

EAGxVirtual Unconference (Saturday, June 20th 2020)

Potential of microbial protein from hydrogen for preventing mass starvation in catastrophic scenarios

My name is Juan B. García Martínez, research associate of the Alliance to Feed the Earth in Disasters (ALLFED). My colleagues Joseph Egbejimba, James Throup, Silvio Matassa, Joshua M. Pearce, David C. Denkenberger and I have researched the potential of microbial protein from hydrogen for preventing mass starvation in global catastrophic scenarios.

As members of ALLFED we are concerned by the fact that the current global food system is critically unprepared for extreme catastrophes of non-negligible likelihood, such as supervolcanic eruptions, asteroid impacts, nuclear wars or pandemics that disrupt food trade. Instead of giving up in the face of this fact, we study potential solutions that could help in such events.


Human civilization’s food production system is currently unprepared for catastrophes that would reduce global food production by 10% or more, such as nuclear winter, supervolcanic eruptions or asteroid impacts. Alternative foods that do not require much or any sunlight have been proposed as a more cost-effective solution than increasing food stockpiles, given the long duration of many global catastrophic risks (GCRs) that could hamper conventional agriculture for 5 to 10 years.

Microbial food from single cell protein (SCP) produced via hydrogen from both gasification and electrolysis is analyzed in this study as alternative food for the most severe food shock scenario: a sun-blocking catastrophe. Capital costs, resource requirements and ramp up rates are quantified to determine its viability. Potential bottlenecks to fast deployment of the technology are reviewed.

The ramp up speed of food production for 24/7 construction of the facilities over 6 years is estimated to be lower than other alternatives (3-10% of the global protein requirements could be fulfilled at end of first year), but the quality of the microbial protein is higher than most others. Results indicate that investment in SCP scaleup should be limited to the production capacity that is needed to fulfill only the minimum recommended protein requirements of humanity during the catastrophe. Further research is needed into more uncertain concerns such as transferability of labor and equipment production. This could help reduce the negative impact of potential food-related GCRs.

Time preference: late session.

Food Crisis - Cascading Events from COVID-19 & Locusts

One important caveat regarding flour fortification with vitamin D3 is that if the flour is used for baking bread, you could be losing 70% or even more of the added vitamin due to thermal degradation: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/1750-3841.14764

Regardless, experts seem to think it is a cost effective measure even without accounting for the COVID-19 prevention potential. These researchers estimatd the effectiveness at £9.5 per QALY gained, which admittedly sounds too good to be true: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41430-019-0486-x