February 20, 2012
VANCOUVERA new generation of grown-in-the-lab meat substitutes are on their way to production and could begin arriving in the next year, according to new research presented at the American Association for the Advancement of Science annual meeting.
A hamburger created from cow stem cells, priced at 250,000, may be unveiled as early as October, said Maastricht University scientist Mark Post, who is developing the burger in his labs with funds from an anonymous financier. Posts approach uses cow stem cells, gradually transforming them into tissues that resemble the skeletal muscle that makes up steak or hamburger. So far, he has created small strips of this tissue; however, it will require thousands of the strips to assemble a hamburger. Post said building meat this way, he said, would use about 40% less energy than traditional livestock production.
Patrick Brown, a biochemist at the Stanford University School of Medicine, is taking a different approach, putting together meat substitutes from plant materials. He is starting with meat but could advance to dairy and other products, imbuing the food with a taste that he says will win over the hardcore meat- and cheese-lovers who cant imagine giving all this up."
Browns process uses plant materials, since he believes plants will be a cheaper and more environmentally more beneficial pathway to a better meat. He said yields from the worlds four major food plant cropscorn, wheat, rice and soybeansalready provide more than enough protein and amino acids for the world population, but only 4% of the worlds land surface is devoted to growing these crops compared to 30% for grazing and raising the crops for livestock feed.
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