Suppose all ethical, religious and ‘ick’-based objections are magically resolved, what would be the most energy-efficient method of recycling human corpses to produce food for humans.
Considerations/criteria (These are not magically resolved):
-The risk of transmitting disease (including stuff like prions) must be as near zero as possible
-The process must be the most efficient possible in terms of yield (nutritional food value) vs energy expenditure and raw materials.
So what would be the best way to put the dead to work?
I don’t think there’s any way to safely use humans for food directly - because of the risk of prions and other diseases - I was thinking more along the lines of either the most energy efficient method of processing corpses into useful fertiliser for crops, or maybe some industrial soylent green-type process that could turn them into a food product (or animal feed), but a safe one.
I’m wondering also if they could be rendered down as a growth medium for quorn or other quorn-like fungi. Maybe soupifying the corpses and then irradiating the soup would be enough to eliminate the prion risk ( I know that prions can survive standard autoclaving, but what about autoclaving and irradiation?)… then you could just pump the resultant glop into your bioreactor and cream off the Quorn at regular points.
Dunno - prions are just little bits of protein that fold the wrong way. I think applying enough radiation to destroy them would be more or less equivalent to cremation.
I can’t imagine there being any safe way to keep the protein as protein safely - seems it would have to be the fertiliser route - unless there is an intermediate organism or chain of organisms that could be guaranteed to reprocess the protein into some safe form.
Actually thinking about it, you could probably enzymatically digest al the meat from the corpses, use the resulting slurry as mycological growth media and then grind the bones for fertiliser for other crops. Dual use!