martes, 24 de mayo de 2011

The Future of Meat Production Might Be in a Laboratory

Researchers have been experimenting with lab-grown meat for 10 years. Different progresses have been made in developing the in vitro meat.

Currently tissue scientists are taking stem cells from pigs and putting them in nutrient broth-filled petri dishes, where they rapidly grow. The biggest slab of meat grown so far is about the size of a contact lens and contains millions of cells. The next step is trying to take these cells and turn them into muscle tissue, using biodegradable scaffolding platforms.

The goal is to eventually produce meat in the lab in quantities large enough to sell in grocery stores and feed an ever-growing population.

At first blush, the concept seems bizarre. One of the scientists that participate in the project says “There is something creepy about growing meat in labs. But there is something more creepy about the way we deal with the animals that we eat. They live a horrible life, and they often die quite cruelly”

In addition to having a positive impact on animal welfare, there are several other advantages to lab-grown meat, by replacing animal meat with in vitro meat, greenhouse gas emissions would decrease significantly since livestock are large producers of methane, nitrous oxide, and carbon dioxide. In addition, scientists would be able to precisely control the fat content of meat, creating a benefit to consumers who want a leaner product.

Perhaps most significant, however, is the effect that lab-produced could potentially have on food safety. Scientists point out that producing meat in a secure and sterile environment, such as a laboratory, would dramatically reduce the possibility of bacterial contamination.

Aporte: Andrea Cuellar

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