Sustainable Innovation For Food Security

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By 2050, the global population is expected to reach 9.7 billion! As a result, world food production will need to rise by 70%, and food production in the developing world will need to double, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the UN! Barring large-scale migration to the other planets, we will simply need more food. Add the energy, water and climate change challenges and you know we are in trouble. Luckily, there are efforts underway to implement innovative, sustainable solutions addressing food security. Approaches include changes in distribution and intelligent packaging to minimize waste, use of smart agriculture techniques to impact crop durability and yield, adopting environmentally friendly pest control and disease treatment, diversifying food sources and strengthening aquaculture. These are expected to have broad impact across the food groups, namely, fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy, and proteins.

Don’t Worry, Bee Happy

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This week, the US EPA told our portfolio company Vestaron that they could remove the bee toxicity warning from the label of its biopesticide product, Spear. We were thrilled to be able to announce this in yesterday's press release, but I thought people may be interested to know exactly what we had to do to prove that Spear was non-toxic to bees.

Renowned futurist Ray Kurzweil has made some eye-popping predictions about the future of human longevity. For example, by 2030 he predicts average lifespans will grow by one annum per annum. This progress will accelerate rapidly and not too long after, the average person can expect to live for 1,000 years. Now, if having a swarm of nanobots floating around your body repairing cells and damaged DNA seems a little far fetched, it may be comforting to learn that in the meantime, biomaterials innovators have some tricks up their sleeve to help our aging population better heal from disease, trauma, and wear-and-tear. Advanced materials have long played a role in western medicine with ubiquitous products such as cardiac stents, artificial joints, hemodialysis membranes, and artificial heart valves. But biomaterials innovation is accelerating just as pharmaceutical innovation struggles in the context of high technical risk, long timelines, and pushback on ever-increasing treatment costs. As healthcare budgets are increasingly constrained, will these biomaterial innovations turn us all into the Six Million Dollar Man (as seen on the television show about a former astronaut filled with implants, which aired four decades ago) or are they a potential savior to a healthcare system under strain? Let’s take a look at where biomaterials have a big role to play:

KAITEKI And The Water Cycle

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Have you ever heard of ‘KAITEKI’? This is the original concept of our company, Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings Corporation (MCHC), to promote our business activities. KAITEKI is a Japanese word that conventionally means ‘comfortable’ or ‘pleasant’ for which is no exact English equivalent. It’s a ward that is closely associated with state of well-being, symbiosis, and harmony. We express a sustainable condition which is comfortable not only for people, but also for society and the Earth by the word ‘KAITEKI’. MCHC is aiming to realize KAITEKI by solving issues in various fields including living, information & electronics, medical care, environment, and energy as an integrated chemical company whose business domains include Performance Products, Health Care and Industrial Materials. And I believe the key to ‘KAITEKI’ is breakthrough innovation in chemical and material science, which is where Pangaea focuses.

Neonicotinoids: Devastating The Food Chain

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June 24th’s indictment of neonicotinoids by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) is by far the most conclusive evidence to date of the widespread destructive effects of this class of pesticide ever published. Based on a four-year analysis, bringing together over 800 peer-reviewed papers, the IUCN has recommended a global phase-out the use of all neonicotinoid and fipronil pesticides ("neonics" for short).