A team of Dutch scientists namely Peter Verstrate and Maastricht University professor Mark Post are working on making the first completely lab-grown meat products to the market by the year 2020. They made to the headlines a few years ago when they released a prototype, the size of a burger patty and probably the most expensive one ever –each one of these costed $331,000. The same team has now announced that they are expanding their team by hiring up to 25 new scientists, a team of food technicians and managers to develop a cheaper, tastier and mass-producible version of their lab grown meat.
Verstratespoke to the media about the initial prototype and said, "It consisted of protein, muscle fibre. But meat is much more than that it is blood, its fat its connective tissue, all of which adds to the taste and texture. You want to mimic meat you have to make all those things too - and you can use tissue engineering technologies - but we hadn't done that at the time."
Talking about the commercial aspect of their research Verstrate added “I feel extremely excited about the prospect of this product being on sale…I am confident that when it is offered as an alternative to meat that increasing numbers of people will find it hard not to buy our product for ethical reasons,”
The whole circus of things starts by extraction of stem cells from the muscle tissues of a healthy cow. These are then cultured with nutrients and growth-promoting chemicals and under right conditions these multiply to more than a million muscle cells strong in just less than 3 weeks. These are then put into smaller dishes where these muscle tissues combine into small strips of muscle.
Layers of these strips are laid together, infused with fat using a ‘bio-cartridge’ and 3D printing technology and colored to give it the healthy pink color to the patty.
The whole technology sounds futuristic but if things go as planned these 3D Printed Burger Patties would be available in the store in your neighborhood by the year 2020.
The News about the 3D printed lab grown meat comes from the world’s first International Symposium on Cultured Meat, where scientist presented their work on 3D printed human tissues and stem cell research for transplants. It looks ironical talking about Lab grown meat at such an event but it makes perfect sense for the environment’s wellbeing.
According to the BBC, an independent study found that lab grown beef uses 45% less energy than the average global representative figure for farming cattle, produces 96% fewer greenhouse gas emissions, and requires 99% less land.
The availability of these 3D Printed Lab Grown meats could solve cultural issues as well, what I meant was that in religions like Hinduism beef killing is prohibited. I think with this kind of meat available in the market you are actually not killing anything, so it should be acceptable to eat. The whole matter could become a subject of whole new debate so get prepared on which side you are on and be prepared with your pointers for the debate.
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