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Wood into Food?

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posted on Dec, 12 2019 @ 05:40 AM
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So lately I have been having this obsession with the possibility of turning wood into food. I know I might sound a bit like a beaver but I really think it might be possible, and each time I hold a log, I can't help but feel that instead of firewood it could perhaps be used to solve hunger.

My thinking is that wood is composed of cellulose, embedded in lignin. Cellulose is basically a long chain of glucose. In theory, there might be a way to break down those molecules into their individual sugar units, which could become a food source.

I was discussing about that idea with my community, and my friend Kishkehe has actually found supporting evidence that there are ways to deconstruct wood into sugar. He found that nice article where researchers found a method to turn cellulose and lignin into sugar that's then fermented to derive biogas.

www.glbrc.org...


UW–Madison researchers have developed a new method for degrading lignocellulosic biomass to fermentable sugars. This simple, high-yielding chemical process, which involves the gradual addition of water to a chloride ionic liquid, enables crude biomass to serve as the sole source of carbon for a scalable biorefinery. In this method, biomass is mixed with a cellulose-dissolving ionic liquid and heated to form a solution or gel. Then water and an acid catalyst are added and the resulting mixture is heated, typically to 105°C. At specified time intervals, more water is added to the mixture until it contains more than 20 percent water by weight. At this point, the mixture contains free sugars such as xylose and glucose


Now there is no indication whether that glucose would be safe for human consumption; the study was aiming to find a way to produce renewable fuel via fermentation. There is the mention of a mysterious "chloride ionic liquid" involved in the process. (Could it be sodium chloride? Salt?). So though we now know it's possible, the question of whether it could be used as food is still left unresolved.

Imagine if we could turn wood chips into grains of food. I was reading yesterday about how rice was harvested and eaten by billions of people. It is interesting to note that wood is already non-toxic, you can eat it but it won't be digested, as we don't have any gut bacteria to break down the complex molecules. So we need to figure a way to break down the molecules before consumption.

edit on 12-12-2019 by swanne because: (no reason given)




posted on Dec, 12 2019 @ 07:05 AM
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a reply to: swanne

Why are you obsessed with turning wood into food?

Earth has food. Good food.

Hunger could be solved without becoming obsessed with turning non-food into food.

Obsession is a young man's game, I hear.
edit on 12/12/2019 by DictionaryOfExcuses because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 12 2019 @ 07:59 AM
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a reply to: DictionaryOfExcuses

Perhaps, perhaps. But there are areas dominated by forests, which makes it harder to grow field food there. The canopy blocks the sun. It's virtually dark on the ground, most plants die when the trees get their leaves. Those few that survive are ferns (most of which are toxic), tiny trout lilies, perhaps idian-pipes here and there. In those cases it could be advantageous to see if there is a way to derive food from the most abundant resource around - fallen wood.

Of course you can always bring a machine to destroy the forest and replace it with a field, but for a forager that's rather labour-intensive (not to mention you'd be removing a lot of animal habitat).



posted on Dec, 12 2019 @ 08:05 AM
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a reply to: swanne

Maybe instead of figuring out how to break the wood down you could look into the possibility of introducing the gut bacteria into the stomach that can break down wood. Perhaps the gut bacteria of a beaver could be the ticket?



posted on Dec, 12 2019 @ 08:18 AM
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a reply to: swanne

If you've ever eaten at taco bell, you've eaten wood. Their so called beef is most likely beef flavored cellulose.



posted on Dec, 12 2019 @ 08:20 AM
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a reply to: swanne

Many human populations have exploited acorns, for thousands of years. There are likely many other foods such as this, but I sadly know little about foraging. Even though the lowly acorn is a healthy calorie dense food, they are considered animal feed by most. I suspect the reason for this is probably the trickle down prejudice of Europeans seeing Natives as "savages".

All the same, who am I too judge? Perhaps you'll make a breakthrough discovery and when you do I will happily eat crow with a side of whatever wood has been converted into food.



posted on Dec, 12 2019 @ 08:25 AM
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a reply to: TheLieWeLive

Was going to say, "But we don't have beaver teeth."

But then I remembered: saws.

Still seems like a lot of trouble.
edit on 12/12/2019 by DictionaryOfExcuses because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 12 2019 @ 08:30 AM
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Umm, there was a big stink a few years ago about how the Parmesan cheese you find in the grocery isles contained mostly wood pulp i.e. cellulose.

Why wood you thing the average person would want to eat your idea? I woodn’t.



posted on Dec, 12 2019 @ 08:32 AM
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If you can turn wood into sugar, I can turn sugar into rum.



posted on Dec, 12 2019 @ 08:35 AM
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originally posted by: TheLieWeLive
a reply to: swanne

Maybe instead of figuring out how to break the wood down you could look into the possibility of introducing the gut bacteria into the stomach that can break down wood. Perhaps the gut bacteria of a beaver could be the ticket?

My farts are bad enough without beaver bacteria adding to the mess.



posted on Dec, 12 2019 @ 08:36 AM
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originally posted by: swanne
a reply to: DictionaryOfExcuses

Perhaps, perhaps. But there are areas dominated by forests, which makes it harder to grow field food there.
It seems to me forests and Jungles disappearing is a problem in much of the world, though some managed forests survive in some places. So I don't see why you'd want to increase the demand for wood, which is part of the reason some forests have been cut down, to get the wood. You'd also need to analyze the efficiency of producing wood versus other edible materials but I'll bet if you do you'll find it's not that efficient, though it might be for some fast growing plants like Bamboo. But even though Bamboo might grow efficiently, one creature that eats it doesn't digest it efficiently, the Panda.


originally posted by: TheLieWeLive
a reply to: swanne

Maybe instead of figuring out how to break the wood down you could look into the possibility of introducing the gut bacteria into the stomach that can break down wood. Perhaps the gut bacteria of a beaver could be the ticket?
According to my definition of wood, beavers don't eat wood. They eat softer plant materials, like leaves and such, but not wood.

Do Beavers Eat Wood?

the answer is more or less no, they don't eat wood. This makes sense when one looks at what food value wood has to a beaver. The wood is mostly indigestible cellulose bound together with lignin. Great fare if you're a termite, but not so much if you're a beaver who has trouble digesting cellulose.

Termites eat wood, but they have the gut bacteria to help them digest it. I have no idea what would happen if you took gut bacteria from a termite or a Panda and put it in a human gut but I wouldn't recommend it. Even if it was possible, it would be very inefficient, like the Panda's inefficiency of eating wood. The panda doesn't have a long gut to efficiently digest cellulose like other herbivoires, so it has to eat a lot of bamboo just to extract a small portion of food value from it, very inefficient.

Evidence of cellulose metabolism by the giant panda gut microbiome



posted on Dec, 12 2019 @ 08:37 AM
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originally posted by: Nickn3
If you can turn wood into sugar, I can turn sugar into rum.

I think there was a thread here dealing with a guy that turned toilet paper (cellulose) into alcohol. He used enzymes purchased online to turn the cellulose into glucose, which he fermented to make alcohol that he distilled. I think he ended up getting 80 proof in the end.



posted on Dec, 12 2019 @ 08:39 AM
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a reply to: butcherguy

I don’t know, maybe your farts could smell like a pine forest instead of rotting meat.



posted on Dec, 12 2019 @ 08:53 AM
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originally posted by: Nickn3
If you can turn wood into sugar, I can turn sugar into rum.

If you can turn sugar into rum, I can turn rum into crazy ideas, like turning wood into food.

edit on 12/12/2019 by DictionaryOfExcuses because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 12 2019 @ 09:07 AM
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originally posted by: butcherguy

originally posted by: Nickn3
If you can turn wood into sugar, I can turn sugar into rum.

I think there was a thread here dealing with a guy that turned toilet paper (cellulose) into alcohol. He used enzymes purchased online to turn the cellulose into glucose, which he fermented to make alcohol that he distilled. I think he ended up getting 80 proof in the end.


That was my thread
and yes, he converted the paper into fermentable sugars.

So it is possible!



posted on Dec, 12 2019 @ 09:09 AM
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a reply to: swanne

I'm sure it's been tried before. Think about it, someone had to be the first to try everything we all have on our menu today. Mushrooms are fungi, whose idea was it to try them as food?



posted on Dec, 12 2019 @ 09:17 AM
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Or or just a thought but let the logs rot on the ground and eat the bug n mushrooms growing it

Natures shaking its head going wtf I gave you 100,000 things to eat and you want to eat the tree

Must be how pet owners fell when there dog eats it's own bed instead of its food



posted on Dec, 12 2019 @ 09:37 AM
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a reply to: swanne

Bamboo is already eaten in many parts of the world
Kudzu is totally edible and grows in many forests where wood would grow.

I guess my question is, should wood really be turned into food?
Wood is precious and there are many uses for it. Even the chips/scraps can compost and help the cycle all over again.

There is not a food shortage in the world. We have a food waste, food transportation, food irrigation problem.



posted on Dec, 12 2019 @ 09:57 AM
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While multi tasking in my shop a few times, waiting for glue to set and getting a batch of beer grain mashing, I have inadvertently put to much water in the mash. I had just got through planning cherry so i took a couple of handfuls of shavings and threw it into the mash. Thickened it right up and Im sure made some ferment-able stuff for the beer! Sort of turning wood into food? I have since used oak and maple shavings in beer making but have not noticed any taste diff but keep on trying I shall!!



posted on Dec, 12 2019 @ 09:59 AM
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a reply to: swanne

Actually a good idea but only if it can be done cheaply enough and serve the need's of areas were that wood would otherwise be sacrificed to make way for third world farm's.

But straight from the tree we simply can not eat wood, usually that is, our teeth are not made for it and our digestive system can not cope with the cellulose and many of the natural chemical's found in most wood's.

But were there is a will there is a way.
www.insidescience.org...

And of course there ARE some edible wood's.
www.americanforests.org...



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