Your body is an organism requiring a source of protein (normally meat), but what if you could eat meat without killing animals?
Vegans and vegetarians consume things like nuts for their protein, since they have made a conscious decision to not consume animals, but what if there was a way to get “meat” but have it be animal free and synthetic. Maybe even produced in a lab?
Humans have kept livestock for millennia all over the world, as an essential source of income for farms as well as to feed the masses, but keeping animals can be an environmentally costly prospect; this is one of the main points that support harvesting or growing meat in a lab.
At 20 per cent of total emissions, producing livestock produces more green house gasses than the transportation industry, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of United Nations. If raising livestock was eliminated, and replaced with consumption of lab-produced meat, it would be the equivalent of every person in the U.S. switching a hybrid car.
The question is: how do you grow meat products similar to what we already consume? The answer is with stem cells of course! What researchers have been using are known as myosatellite cells, which are responsible for rebuilding muscle tissue.
“We can grow strips of muscle tissue that look under the microscope exactly like muscle tissue from a living animal,” Mark Post told LiveScience.com. Post is a biotechnology engineer at Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands.
These researchers have been taking cells from pigs and putting them under mechanical and electrical stress by shocking them with electricity to encourage them to grow. Currently only small thin masses of tissue, which are also low in protein, can be produced.
One potential advantage to this production method is that scientists could engineer a healthier meat product, one containing more beneficial fatty acids and less fat than traditionally grown meat.
An issue that probably comes to mind is how does the meat taste? Currently, Live Science reports that unofficial taste testers “have not rated the experimental product high in either flavor or texture.”
Unfortunately, Post’s work is between grants, but he estimates that a few hundred million dollars would do the trick to get the ball rolling again.
Live Science also reports: “According to food research scientist Mirko Betti, who published a paper last year evaluating the potential for a cultured meat production system, scientists would need five years to overcome the technical hurdles of lab meat once the funding became available for their work.”
I do not know about you, but I’d eat it.