Artificial meat is getting closer

13.05.2013

In London, not today — tomorrow will be the presentation of the first in the history of meat grown in a laboratory. It is said to be delicious. Tack lavrushechki.

Nearer the event, which can begin with a new gastronomic era. After a few weeks at a special event in London Mark Post of Maastricht University (Netherlands) will offer gourmet artificial meat — a delicacy, collected from 20 thousand layers of muscle tissue grown in the laboratory.

First public (and potential investors) will be demonstrated in principle the possibility of technology, which they say is not the first decade not only vegetarians, but also environmentalists. For example, a study, the results of which were published in 2011, found that full-scale production of artificial meat will significantly reduce the use of water, land and energy, as well as emissions of methane and other greenhouse gas emissions compared with traditional breeding. With the increasing demand for meat in China and other countries are gradually getting rich of this issue is only growing.

Do you think it will all be eaten? (Photo by Francois Lenoir / Reuters.)

Mr. Post — just one of a number of researchers who have switched from growing artificial organs for medical purposes for the manufacture of healthy and delicious food — repeatedly delayed the premiere, which was held last November. In his own words, the meat tasted very personal, despite the complete lack of fat. At the London presentation, he adds to it a yes salt pepper.

But the demonstration of the possibility — the decision not to all problems. The current artificial meat grown from stem cells, embryos, calves, and in the future they will have to replace something. In addition, a sandwich with meat worth € 250 million, and this, too, something must be done, otherwise the product is categorically not be able to compete with conventional beef. And then — how will all this unremarkable public?

Let's start with the cost. The fact that it drops, no doubt. First, a role play process automation and other technological innovations (eg Gabor Forgacs of the University of Missouri, the founder of Modern Meadow, invented the 3D-bioprinter for thicker layers of fabric). Second, replace the low efficiency plant for the processing of plant foods in the meat (I mean beast) will come to the process with high efficiency. Also, do not need to spend precious resources on growing what to eat then do not go (horns, hooves, etc.).

Now the cells. Mr. Post enjoys myosatellites — stem cells, by which repaired the damaged muscle. They are removed from the cow and neck were placed in a container with the nutrient medium. Through trial and error, researchers have figured out how they can double the amount in three weeks (this is a breakthrough, and a breeze, as needed billions of cells, you know.)

The cells are then fall into a ball of gel on the plastic container. The amount of nutrients dramatically reduced, and the cells begin to starve, what motivates them to become muscle cells. Over time, they unite to form muscle fibers grows proteins are organized into cutting elements. The main thing, emphasizes Mr. Post — Properly cells and allow them to gain a foothold to build up tension, without which the muscles can not contract.

The result is a tiny pink thread a length of about 12 mm and a diameter of only 1 mm. They are narrow, because the cells should be located as close to the source of nutrients. If you want a thicker strip (and cook a steak, not hamburger), you need to create a network of channels — the equivalent of the blood vessels, so that the nutrients reach every cell. (And for the steak will also grow fat.)

Mr. Post justifies its choice in favor of myosatellites fact that they are easy to differentiate. "Amphicyte fits perfectly — he says. — It is not necessary to resort to all kinds of tricks. In addition, there is a practical benefit, for the production of stem cells, and quality control meets the animal. "

But since there is a limit myosatellites reproduction, artificial meat, Mr. Lent will always depend on the cow. Therefore, other researchers put on these types of stem cells that are capable of reproducing indefinitely, so that in the regular campaign on the meat will no longer need. For example, the staff of the University of Utrecht (the Netherlands) try to distinguish embryonic stem cells from pigs and cows. And Nicholas Genovese of the University of Missouri (USA) occupied by ordinary mature cells, which "forced" to become stem — in this case the sources of artificial meat may be, for example, the cells of pig skin.

But even if you can not completely abandon the livestock, the need for it will decrease dramatically. "I'll be glad if herds worldwide decrease in at least a million times", — says Mr. Post.

Prepared according to the New York Times.

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