Regional land use efficiency and nutritional quality of protein production

Ilkka Leinonen*, Pietro P.M. Iannetta, Michael MacLeod, Robert M. Rees, Wendy Russell, Christine Watson, Andrew P. Barnes

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Strategies for achieving environmental sustainability of protein production vary regionally. In this study, a framework was applied that would quantify a region-specific contribution to global protein supply with a special focus on protein quality i.e. essential amino acid composition. The framework was applied in Scotland and showed that high-quality human-edible protein from that region currently emerges mainly from animal production. Considering future protein scenarios, the land requirement for pulses for producing a certain amount of essential amino acids in Scotland would be similar to the land requirement for potentially human-edible feeds needed in cattle production. Reducing the current use of agricultural by-products in livestock feeding would considerably increase the land use demand for other, potentially human edible feed crops.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100386
JournalGlobal Food Security
Early online date8 Jun 2020
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the Scottish Government , through the Rural Affairs and the Environment Portfolio Strategic Research Programme 2016–2021, WP 1.4 ‘Integrated and Sustainable Management of Natural Assets’, and the SEFARI Gateway project, “Pathways toward a sustainable protein economy”. RMR and PPMI are also supported by the EU-H2020 funded project TRUE ( ), Grant Agreement number 727973 .

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020


  • Amino acids
  • Climate change
  • Food production
  • Land use
  • Livestock
  • Protein


Dive into the research topics of 'Regional land use efficiency and nutritional quality of protein production'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this