Lab-grown meat could help reduce the environmental footprint of intensive farming. But will it ever appeal to vegetarians or even more eco-conscious consumers?
Before the end of the year, Dutch scientists are promising a high-profile debut for a burger made from meat grown not on a farm but in their laboratory.
Synthetic or lab-grown meat involves taking a small amount of cells from a living animal and growing it into lumps of muscle tissue in the lab, which can then, in theory, be eaten as meat by people.
As well as saving an animal, lab-grown meat also reduces the negative environmental impact of modern-day intensive meat production, including land use, animal feed and greenhouse gas emissions. In contrast to vegetarian, non-animal based alternatives to meat like soya, tofu, Quorn or other vegetable proteins, artificial meat has a much higher protein content as well as tasting and having a more similar texture to slaughtered animal meat.
The technology behind lab-grown meat has been around since the late 1990s, but producing an affordable and tasty meat product has proved elusive...until now with two different researchers in the US and Europe maintaining they are both confident they are close to a breakthrough.
Backed with US$400,000 (2.5 million yuan) of funding from an anonymous donor, professor Mark Post of Maastricht University says he will be holding a public tasting session of his lab-grown burger in the next few months.
Article continues at ENN affiliate, Ecologist
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