Of course the first argument infavor of growing meat is that it frees up massive tracts of range land. Then we have the argument against theprospect of quality. Yet the fact that Iam now posting on the early advent of replacement parts for human beings tellsme that quality will be attained and so will inexpensive production.
I think that the land argument ispretty irrelevant and the debate there should focus on optimization of landusage. The natural world is quite ableto provide us with all the meat protein we want in a highly sustainable way. What is more important is that we need thesustainable way in order to optimize the land itself. We eat the natural surpluses to prevent overproduction and the resultant biome failure that this inspires.
We will still want to produce ourown inexpensive meat substitute as a simple method of converting plantfeedstocks into high quality edible food.
Recall the conversion ratios weare starting to see in aquaculture. Today half of all fish consumed is farmed. Think about that for a moment when you go tothe fish counter. Notice that there isplenty of it and it is clearly cheaper than any wild counter part. Goodbye to the wild fishery. It will not take a generation to finish thejob since we now have a replacement for tuna.
I see no reason to suppose thatcultured meat will not accomplish the same revolution. Humanity wants a modern diet as soon aspossible and a cultured cutlet will always be welcome. It will also be eventually superior to thenon uniform supply of meat products we presently consume.
In a small laboratory on an upper floor of the basic science buildingat the
Medical Universityof ,Vladimir Mironov, M.D., Ph.D., has been working for a decade to grow meat. South Carolina
January 31, 2011
By Harriet McLeod
CHARLESTON, South Carolina (Reuters) - In a small laboratory on anupper floor of the basic science building at the Medical University of SouthCarolina, Vladimir Mironov, M.D., Ph.D., has been working for a decade to growmeat.
A developmental biologist and tissue engineer, Dr. Mironov, 56, is oneof only a few scientists worldwide involved in bioengineering"cultured" meat.
It's a product he believes could help solve future global food crisesresulting from shrinking amounts of land available for growing meat theold-fashioned way ... on the hoof.
Growth of "in-vitro" or cultured meat is also under way inthe
Netherlands, Mironovtold Reuters in an interview, but in the , it is science insearch of funding and demand. United States
The new National Institute of Food and Agriculture, part of the U.S.Food and Drug Administration, won't fund it, the National Institutes of Healthwon't fund it, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration funded itonly briefly, Mironov said.
"It's classic disruptive technology," Mironov said."Bringing any new technology on the market, average, costs $1 billion. Wedon't even have $1 million."
Director of the Advanced Tissue Biofabrication Center in the Departmentof Regenerative Medicine and Cell Biology at the medical university, Mironovnow primarily conducts research on tissue engineering, or growing, of humanorgans.
"There's a yuck factor when people find out meat is grown in alab. They don't like to associate technology with food," said NicholasGenovese, 32, a visiting scholar in cancer cellbiology working under a People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals three-yeargrant to run Dr. Mironov's meat-growing lab.
"But there are a lot of products that we eat today that areconsidered natural that are produced in a similar manner," Genovese said.
"There's yogurt, which is cultured yeast. You have wine productionand beer production. These were not produced in laboratories. Society hasaccepted these products."
If wine is produced in winery, beer in a brewery and bread in a bakery,where are you going to grow cultured meat?
In a "carnery," if Mironov has his way. That is the name hehas given future production facilities.
He envisions football field-sized buildings filled with largebioreactors, or bioreactors the size of a coffee machine in grocery stores, tomanufacture what he calls "charlem" -- "
engineered meat." Charleston
"It will be functional, natural, designed food," Mironovsaid. "How do you want it to taste? You want a little bit of fat, you wantpork, you want lamb? We design exactly what you want. We can design texture.
"I believe we can do it without genes. But there is no evidencethat if you add genes the quality of food will somehow suffer. Geneticallymodified food is already normal practice and nobody dies."
Dr. Mironov has taken myoblasts -- embryonic cells that develop intomuscle tissue -- from turkey and bathed them in a nutrient bath of bovine serumon a scaffold made of chitosan (a common polymer found in nature) to growanimal skeletal muscle tissue. But how do you get that juicy, meaty quality?
Genovese said scientists want to add fat. And adding a vascular systemso that interior cells can receive oxygen will enable the growth of steak, say,instead of just thin strips of muscle tissue.
Cultured meat could eventually become cheaper than what Genovese calledthe heavily subsidized production of farm meat, he said, and if the publicaccepts cultured meat, the future holds benefits.
"Thirty percent of the earth's land surface area is associatedwith producing animal protein on farms," Genovese said.
"Animals require between 3 and 8 pounds of nutrient to make 1pound of meat. It's fairly inefficient. Animals consume food and produce waste.Cultured meat doesn't have a digestive system.
"Further out, if we have interplanetary exploration, people willneed to produce food in space and you can't take a cow with you.
"We have to look to these ideas in order to progress. Otherwise,we stay static. I mean, 15 years ago who could have imagined the iPhone?"