Scientists these days can now grow meat in the laboratory. Vascular physiologist, Mark Post, from the University of Maastricht in the Netherlands, created a 5-pound burger patty. It was made from bovine muscle stem cells, which had been bathed in a culture medium containing fetal calf serum to promote growth and differentiation. Food experts tasted the burger and said it was okay; it tasted like meat and was pleasantly crunchy.
Substituting lab-grown meat for the traditional meat has many positive effects. Cultured meat or “shmeat”, reduces the number of animals being slaughtered in the horrible conditions of feedlots. These filthy feedlots can harm human health and spread pollution. Lab-grown meat is therefore cleaner compared to traditional meat. It also doesn’t have pesticide residues and contains less antibiotics.
Because of people’s love for meat, 30% of our arable land is dedicated for growing food for livestock, compared to merely 4% dedicated for growing food for humans. Various calculations suggest that lab grown meat can reduce the need for land and water by 90% and energy usage by 70%
Unlike traditional meat, lab-grown meat is pure protein. Taste and texture could be a problem for some since It doesn’t have fats, blood or connective tissue. Researchers are planning to incorporate fat cells into the culture-or the healthier substitue, Omega 3.
Lab-grown meat won’t be in the market for another 10 to 20 years. Let’s just hope that when the time comes, its price will drop. The 5 pound burger mentioned above costs $325,000.
Rupp, Rebecca (2014). Meat, Shmeat from http://theplate.nationalgeographic.com/2014/09/16/meat-shmeat/ Retrieved May 14, 2015.