This is especially relevant considering that the current broadening of the utilization spectrum of biomass beyond the classical domains of food and feed is accompanied by a sharp increase in their demand. Causes for the increased demand are population growth, the rise of per capita income, and the concomitant changes in food consumption habits in developing and emerging countries. The consequences are dramatic changes in the scarcity of and relationship between food and feed, changes which trigger multiple adaptive mechanisms. Additionally, greater price volatility, resulting from the dependency on global economic cycles, raises the risks for all stakeholders involved. Furthermore, expanding global trade, the international exchange of plants and animals, also increases the risk of transmitting pathogens and pests, which has happened repeatedly over the last years. Therefore, product quality and safety are now of greater concern and also reflect changing societal preferences. The quality of the production process is also increasingly relevant given its close connection to the goals of sustainability and resource stewardship. An integrated view of the bioeconomy is vital in the context of a systems approach.
The main research topics encompass the following issues: