Grass-Fed People to Replace Grass-Fed Beef

by Peter Kilkus

University of Lake Berryessa scientists are developing a bacteria that can live in the human gut and produce a form of “cellulase” which can digest cellulose by breaking it down into "simple sugars". Hay and grasses are particularly abundant in cellulose, and both are indigestible by humans. Celluloses are not naturally good human food since the long chains that contain the basic energy building blocks are difficult to break down into the smaller chain sugars (carbohydrates) which can unlock that energy. Humans lack the enzyme necessary to digest cellulose. Un-digestible cellulose is the “fiber” which aids in the smooth working of the human intestinal tract. 

One cellulose molecule normally consists of a few hundreds to thousands of glucose molecules. Glucose molecules are the building blocks of carbohydrates. Carbohydrates serve as a major energy source for living things and originate chiefly as products of photosynthesis. Glucose molecules chain together to form other sugars such as cellulose and our normal sugar, sucrose. Sucrose is actually two simpler sugars stuck together: fructose and glucose. 

If humans are able to eat grass rather than feed the grass to cows and then eat the cows, eliminating the cows would reduce a major source of methane - a greenhouse gas more potent than methane.

Cow man grass mouth

Testing on volunteer human subjects is proceeding successfully. The biggest problem with eating grass and wood is the flavor. Unique new seasonings and recipes will be needed. If humans can be modified to digest cellulose a whole new range of food possibilities open up creating a base of international food security. 

The downside is that poor and starving people would be able to eat their trees, bushes, and houses, causing another potential problem.                       © Peter Kilkus 2018