——By Dajun Yu, PhD student of Water INTERface IGEP and Department of Food Science and Technology
In this seminar, we read some papers, and also listened to some presentations about the role of water plays in different research fields such as wastewater treatment, energy, nutrition and health, sensory, and agricultural production. This is the first time I am involved in such an interdisciplinary education environment which impresses me a lot.
First, I learnt that wasting food is also wasting water because the production of food needs large amount of water. This brings me a totally different perspective of water, wastewater and water conservation. Therefore, I am now trying not to waste any food as best as I can in my daily life. The little change in my life won’t change the current water shortage situation too much, but still I want to do it and help promote it to the friends around me. Meanwhile, I am much more interested in news about water crisis, water safety and also wastewater now.
Additionally, I realized when talking about the water, it is not just water for drinking, bathing, brushing the teeth, washing clothes and dishes, and preparing food at home. More broadly, water is also used for the industries, agricultural irrigation, thermoelectric power, feeding animals, etc. Water is needed everywhere and anytime in everyone’s life. Water can affect human not only through the direct drinking but also through more different ways such as the crop irrigation through contaminations such as microbes or heavy metal. The quality of the water is closely related to the quality of the agricultural products that we consume every day. Therefore, the people who manage the water supply need to consider the final usage of the water and decide what standards it needs to achieve so it will be safe to be used in the corresponding situations. It is necessary for these people to have an interdisciplinary background or working with someone who has different background to consider the water quality and the food safety problems at the same time. It is even more crucial when the wastewater is treated for reusing purposes. Under this situation, removing the contaminants from wastewater is important for recycling the wastewater. However, these contaminants cannot only be the waste and discarded, they could be recycled for other purposes. For example, the phosphorus and nitrogen in the wastewater can be recovered to produce fertilizer used for agricultural purpose, such as the struvite. Turning waste into valuable things is helpful to protect our earth and secure different resources.
Apart from this, water can also help promote the health of human by lowering total energy intake, increasing rates of fat oxidation and preventing weight gain. This is the research field I am interested in and I am hoping that I could get involved in an individual project which are related to water and nutrition. Finally, I appreciate the opportunity to take this class to get knowledge in new fields, broaden visions and make progress.