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The number of people on the planet is growing, and with them - their need for food. According to experts, agriculture in its present view will not soon be able to provide the world's population with animal food, and therefore more scientists are betting on fundamentally new ways of growing meat. Now this issue is seriously taken up by ... laboratory.
Meat from a test tube ... While this sounds strange and even frightening, however, experts predict that in the next decade such a product will supplant usual meat in the snack bars and on the shelves of the fridge. Potentially, in the laboratory, it is possible to grow the muscle tissue of absolutely any animal, but so far, private developments have not reached a level that allows them to go on a large-scale production.
Meat from a test tube will soon replace usual meat, photo © mosameat.com
Churchill prophesied the era of artificial meat, who in the 30th year of the last century said: "Humanity will soon not grow a whole chicken to eat its wings. It will learn how to grow wings separately". While the creation of full-fledged muscle fibers and individual parts of the body is under development, a substance similar to minced meat has been grown in the laboratory long ago.
So, five years ago, a group of scientists from the Netherlands, under the leadership of Professor Mark Post, presented a hamburger with 140 grams of artificial meat to the general public. The tasters noted the flawed imperfection of the finished product, but the beginning, nevertheless, was laid. The Post's project was invested by 250 thousand euros, and the investor was co-founder of Google Sergey Brin.
Professor Mark Post, photo © mosameat.com
Now, in order to bring the production of artificial meat to a new level, Post launched a startup Mosa Meat, which has already received financing of 7.5 million euros. In the future, an improved system for growing muscle fibers will make a laboratory product comparable in value to natural. Scientists claim that already in 2021, "meat from a test tube" will hit the market, and the first to use it will be fast food. The price of a hamburger with such a meat product will initially be about 9 euros, but it will decrease as the technology improves.
How to make artificial meat of the future in Mosa Meat, we can talk for a long time. The process is complicated and yet does not allow to receive a high-grade meat piece. The muscle tissue of an animal taken by biopsy is used as a basis. It is restored from myosatellite stem cells (the precursors of muscle cells), which are placed in a nutrient medium where they multiply, forming a primitive muscle tissue.
The price of a hamburger will initially be about 9 euros, photo © mosameat.com
It is immersed in a special hydrogel, which stimulates the formation of muscle fibers. At the final stage, they are painted with the help of myoglobin-like substances in the correct color. The result is a product that looks like minced meat, which can be used to make sausages, nuggets, burgers and so on.
Artificially grown meat, gaining more and more real features and prospects, already today becomes the subject of fierce disputes between environmentalists, nutritionists and animal rights advocates. While it is difficult to say whether this is good or bad, which is often conceals by many promising know-how.
Artificially grown meat already becomes the subject of controversy, photo © mosameat.com
Some experts say that the impact on the environment will be significantly less by reducing the amount of carbon dioxide emissions and the areas of farmland. Others, on the contrary, argue that the cultivation of artificial meat will require even more resources. Nutritionists are also spreading their hands - not knowing all the subtleties of the production, it makes no sense to talk about its properties and qualities.
However, the management of the Bell Food Group, which finances the start-up of Mark Post, notes that "this product can be a better alternative to meat for consumers oriented to the environment". Is it so? We'll find out later. In the meantime, let's wait for real results.
Victoria Romanova, Russia, Moscow