Here we propose the concept of an electro-microbial route to uncouple food production from photosynthesis, thereby enabling production of nutritious food in space without the need to grow plant-based crops. In the proposed process, carbon dioxide is fixed into ethanol using either chemical catalysis or microbial carbon fixation, and the ethanol created is used as a carbon source for yeast to synthesize food for human or animal consumption. The process depends upon technologies that can utilize electrical energy to fix carbon into ethanol and uses an optimized strain of the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae to produce high-quality, food-grade, single-cell protein using ethanol as the sole carbon source in a minimal medium. Crops performing photosynthesis require months to mature and are challenging to grow under the conditions found in space, whereas the electro-microbial process could generate significant quantities of food on demand with potentially high yields and productivities. In this paper we...

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