Today is quite an exciting day in the food world because today, a beef burger which was grown from stem cells was tasted for the first time! The potential implications are massive with regards to providing quality food for the growing population, and this may be the answer we are looking for, from the circle chart bellow you can see clear environmental benefits of this lab beef:
Because it uses less energy and space than conventional farming, much more can be produced with the limited resources we have available. It is unlikely to completely replace farming animals, as it probably won’t be possible to grow a joint of meat which we British love, but it could make up a huge part of the processed meat market, which is massive.
This also could provide an exciting alternative to GM foods, which in principle are a good idea, but are causing a nightmare in America with companies like Monsanto, who have made crops and farming a very aggressive business. Not to mention all the environmental and health concerns with GM foods…
Overall, this seems a much safer and agreeable alternative, so I was quite pleased to see this lab grown burger come about, but there is still a lot of work to do in this field. From what I gather, this burger was made from small circular muscle fibers which were grown in petri dishes (they looked like pale Cheerios). They then had to be processed together into beef mince using natural colours like beetroot to give it a red colour. A lot of work for one burger, but to create larger amounts of muscle tissue complex circulatory systems will have to be built to deliver nutrients, which isn’t going to be easy.
Oh, and apparently the burger didn’t really taste that nice, which is a pretty big problem. No one is going to eat a bad tasting (although having said that people still go to McDonalds)…
So I am hopeful for this new potential answer to the feeding the world problem, but there is still much work to be done before it can be commercially viable. Fingers crossed!
Image courtesy of meatwadphoto