Back in 1999, a movie came out that revolutionized science fiction and led to one of the most iconic lines in movie history…

(Welcome To The Real World…)

If you haven’t seen the film, I suggest you take a few hours and immerse yourself in the concept of a world created within a world.

But within the script of this nearly flawless film, there is one term that has raised eyebrows for nearly two decades. Rather than watch the whole film to find it, I’ve put the moment in question here:

(It starts at 48 seconds…)

If you didn’t catch it, they are eating something called “Single Cell Protein.” While this may sound rather futuristic, it comes from a concept developed in the past….

(In the 1960s…)

The idea was to somehow find a way to make food from bacteria. Back then, the concept was considered futuristic and not possible at the time.

But now the future has become reality thanks to a Finnish company called VTT. They have created the first viable single cell protein mixture. You can read more about the story by clicking on the title, “A Team of Scientists Just Made Food From Electricity — and it Could be the Solution to World Hunger

What makes this discovery so interesting is the actual look of the food source…

(Looks like the stuff in the movie..)

The link between VTT and film goes beyond visual appearance. This single cell protein mix is made using equipment that play a major role in the film…


Of course, this cinematic version is quite different from the one used by VTT. First off, the scale is significantly smaller. Then there are the living organisms contained in the reactor. I won’t give away what is inside those fictional reactors but VTT is happy to share what is inside their system…

(“Knallgas” Bacteria…)

The name may seem strange but the decision to go with these types of bacteria is quite sound. Here’s why…

If you happen to speak German, you’ll know that “Knallgas” means “Bang Gas.”

If you happen to know anything about gases, you’ll realize that bang gas is another name for hydrogen.

If you have studied hydrogen utilizing bacteria, you’ll know they use carbon dioxide as an energy source to grow.

Finally, if you have any appreciation for what bacteria produce as they grow, you’ll come to realize that this reactor will end up in the production of single cells filled with proteins and other components such as sugars and fats.

We tend to call these bacteria chemolithoautotrophs but thanks to VTT you can also call them by a different moniker…

(The solution to global hunger…)

As mentioned in the film, single cell protein has everything the body needs. But that isn’t the reason why this discovery could revolutionize food security. That lies in the necessities to produce this nutritious product:  carbon dioxide, water, bacteria, and a source of electricity.

In light of the problems we face with climate change, reduced agricultural space, and an ever-growing human population, this route may be the key to improving health across the globe.

With a little more time and some upscale efforts, we may use single cell protein as a viable means to keep the world’s population fed. Perhaps more importantly, having well-fed people may help to foster brilliant minds from all over the world. This then can lead to even more fantastic and amazing revolutions…

(Unlike this one, which was a true disappointment…)