Micronutrient availability in alternative foods during agricultural catastrophes
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Several catastrophes could block the sun, including asteroid/comet impact, super volcanic eruption, and nuclear war with the burning of cities (nuclear winter). Previous work has analyzed alternate food supplies (e.g., mushrooms growing on dead trees, bacteria growing on natural gas). This was shown to be technically capable of feeding everyone with macronutrients (protein, carbohydrates, and lipids) and minerals, although economics and politics remain uncertain. The present work analyzes vitamin availability in such alternative food scenarios. The vitamin content of various alternate foods is compared to the US recommended daily allowance (RDA) as well as the average requirement defined by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and insufficiencies of single food sources are discussed. Single alternate food sources are always deficient in some vitamins, and the problems associated with this are discussed. To prevent disease in an alternative food scenario a wide range of foods must be consumed, or the diet must be supplemented. Backup plans discussed include chemical synthesis of vitamins, plants grown with artificial light and growing bacteria rich in certain vitamins. Finally, insights from this analysis are provided for combating existing micronutritional deficiencies using alternative foods today.