Tuesday, December 9, 2014

In Vitro Meat

In vitro meat is animal meat created without the farming techniques practiced currently by industrialized animal farms. No pens, no dirt, no disease. The idea is to create a meat product that will benefit both animals and the growing human population. While also greatly reducing the greenhouse gases and water consumption currently generated by modern meat farms. However, the question on most minds is, ‘How does it taste?’
Not terrible. In a quote from two of the persons (one a culinary author and the other a nutritional scientist) invited to taste the first in-vitro burger, it “almost” tasted like a conventional burger. Hanni Rutzler, a nutritional scientist said “It’s close to meat, but it’s not as juicy” and added “I would have said if it was disgusting.”(Lab-grown beef…)
This is meat generated in a petri dish, cultured meat is what is meant by the term in vitro meat. In order to reach it’s final product the in vitro meat starts as stem cells from the meat it is intended to mimic. Currently, scientists are trying to find ways to grow the meat with an edible scaffold, made of chitosan or collagen, from non-animal sources. The scaffold will “simulate the stretching that muscle cells undergo as a living creature moves around it is highly desirable to develop a scaffold that could periodically shift its form thus “exercising” the cells.’ (Futurefood.org) This, along with a Bioreactor environment (which fluctuates both temperature and ph levels) would generate fat tissue thus resulting in a more familiar taste.
Taste aside, the benefits of lab grown meat are overwhelmingly positive.
“An independent study found that lab-grown beef uses 45% less energy than the average global representative figure for farming cattle. It also produces 96% fewer greenhouse gas emissions and requires 99% less land.”
-World’s first lab grown burger is eaten in London
A more commercially accessible in vitro meat is still in production. So we won’t be seeing any lab meat in the grocery store as of yet, but with all the benefits  lab grown meat can provide the world, we could hopefully end the current commercial animal farms.

Authored by Brian Dodson

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