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Meat without animals a REALITY!

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Mike

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"Animal products without animals"

"The technology already exists for making a sort of pressed chicken in the laboratory," says agriculture economist Jason Matheny of the University of Maryland. Researchers in the Netherlands are even studying ways to take the next step -- from laboratory meat to industrial production. The Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs has earmarked €2 million for a four-year research project at universities in Eindhoven, Utrecht and Amsterdam. The project is being co-sponsored by the meat-processing industry, which has kicked in another €2.3 million.

"We're trying to develop animal production without animals," says cell researcher Henk Haagsman, director of the research group in Utrecht. At this point, he says, researchers still haven't figured out whether laboratory meat can be produced inexpensively enough to compete with traditional meat. "But from a scientific perspective," says Haagsman, "the sky is the limit when it comes to meat production in the laboratory."

The basic concept behind what is known as in vitro cultivated meat sounds surprisingly simple. Meat is mostly made up of bundled muscle cells, interspersed with fat and connective tissue cells. If it were possible to grow these cells in the laboratory and combine them at the right ratios, test-tube meat could become a reality. The patent that serves as the basis for the Dutch research project puts the issue succinctly: "The product has the structure and flavor of lean meat, but without requiring animals to suffer and without involving religious and ethical concerns or causing environment problems, all of which are the case in today's meat production."

As promising as this may sound, biotech meat production still has many hurdles to overcome. Scientists are just now beginning to experiment with ways to reconstruct knuckles of veal and pig stomachs in the laboratory. Three years ago, US researcher Morris Benjaminson of New York's Touro College was one of the first to experiment with the concept of growing filets in a Petri dish. After placing tiny muscle particles taken from goldfish into a nutrient solution, he observed how the muscle tissue grew by up to 14 percent within a week.

Fetal calf serum gravy

He then presented the thumb-sized results, in fresh and sautéed form, to a jury. "The smell and appearance corresponded to that of supermarket fish," says Benjaminson. The only problem was that no one was interested in eating his fish nuggets, perhaps because his tiny goldfish filets matured in something called fetal calf serum.

This nutrient medium, derived from cow fetuses, is prized in biology labs all over the world as extremely effective in growing cells. But it's hardly suitable for use as a culture medium in food production, partly because it's a potential source of the prions that cause Mad Cow Disease (BSE) and partly because it's prohibitively expensive. Matheny estimates that a kilogram of laboratory meat would cost about half a million dollars if it were grown in calf serum.

In order to make faux meat a reality, then, one of the first tasks is to develop an inexpensive ersatz nutrient solution from plants or mushrooms. Maitake mushrooms, for example, have already proved to be a possible alternative.
 

Murgen

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I wonder if the consumer will buy this kind of meat over GMO crops?

Scientists have a lot of fun in their sandboxes, don't they?
 

PORKER

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This nutrient medium, derived from cow fetuses, is prized in biology labs all over the world as extremely effective in growing cells. But it's hardly suitable for use as a culture medium in food production, partly because it's a potential source of the prions that cause Mad Cow Disease (BSE) and partly because it's prohibitively expensive. Matheny estimates that a kilogram of laboratory meat would cost about half a million dollars if it were grown in calf serum.

Just a Tax Loss
 

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