In vitro meat: the new phase of Genetically Modified Organisms
- 27 Posts
Would you eat meat produced or grown in the lab? In an article
written by Tom Levitt in October, 2012, the new phase of meat
production is devoid of its natural process of growth and
processing for consumption. This came into reality in August 2013
when the first in vitro meat was launched, cooked and tasted in a
news conference in London.
In vitro meat, also known as cultured meat, victimless meat, cruelty-free meat, test-tube meat, tubesteak, or shmeat, is an animal flesh product that has never been part of a living animal. The name Shmeat is a nickname given to lab-created meat grown from a cell culture of animal tissue. The etymology of this usage is the combination of “sheet” and “meat.”
Since the start of the 21st century, several research projects have worked on in vitro meat in the laboratory. The first in vitro beef burger, created by a Dutch team, was eaten at a demonstration for the press in London in August 2013.
The Cultured meat is currently prohibitively expensive, but it is anticipated that the cost could be reduced to compete with conventionally obtained meat as technology evolves but I wonder will this ever substitute natural meat products in taste and nature “No!
To me it was another phase of gene manipulation or rather Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) in which strands of genes are taken from other animals/organisms and manipulated in the lab to grow and made available for public consumption as food.
I went further to make some enquiries about in vitro meat and I discovered that it has been in production and research labs since the early 90s.
Historically these are some of my findings about in vitro meat:
In vitro cultivation of stem cells from animals has been possible since the 1990s, including the production of small quantities of tissue which could, in principle be cooked and eaten. NASA has been conducting experiments since 2001, producing in vitro meat from turkey cells.
The science for in vitro meat is an outgrowth of the field of biotechnology known as tissue engineering. The technology is simultaneously being developed along with other uses for tissue engineering such as helping those with muscular dystrophy and, similarly, growing transplant organs in the laboratory.
In 2001, dermatologist Wiete Westerhof from the University of Amsterdam, medical doctor Willem van Eelen, and businessman Willem van Kooten announced that they had filed for a worldwide patent on a process to produce in vitro meat. In the process, a matrix of collagen is seeded with muscle cells, which are then bathed in a nutritious solution and induced to divide. Scientists in Amsterdam study the culture medium, while the University of Utrecht studies the proliferation of muscle cells, and the Eindhoven University of Technology is researching bioreactors.
The first peer-reviewed journal article published on the subject of laboratory-grown meat appeared in a 2005 issue of Tissue Engineering.
In 2008, PETA offered a $1 million prize to the first company that brings lab-grown chicken meat to consumers by 2012. The Dutch government has put US$4 million into experiments regarding in vitro meat. The In Vitro Meat Consortium, a group formed by international researchers interested in the technology, held the first international conference on the production of in vitro meat, hosted by the Food Research Institute of Norway in April 2008, to discuss commercial possibilities.
Time Magazine declared in vitro meat production to be one of the 50 breakthrough ideas of 2009. In November 2009, scientists from the Netherlands announced they had managed to grow meat in the laboratory using the cells from a live pig.
As of 2012, 30 laboratories from around the world have announced they're working on in vitro meat research.
I pondered why is this meat produced in the laboratory very important and I found from researches carried out, currently scientist researching on climate changes said is an avenue to reduce green house gases released into the environment by farm animals and it’s a way of saving land space for developmental purposes.
According to a study by researchers at Oxford and the University of Amsterdam found that in vitro meat was "potentially ... much more efficient and environmentally-friendly",It generates only 4% greenhouse gas emissions It reduces the energy needs of meat generation by up to 45% And requiring only 2% of the land that the global meat/livestock industry does.
The patent holder for in vitro meat, the journalist Brendan I. Koerner, and Hanna Tuomisto, a PhD student from Oxford University all believe it has less environmental impact. This is in contrast to cattle farming, "responsible for 18% of greenhouse gases" and causing more damage to the environment than the combined effects of the world's transportation system. Vertical farming may completely eliminate the need to create extra farmland in rural areas along with in vitro meat.to be continued........