Food of the future: meat alternatives

01.11.2017 Food of the future: meat alternatives

According to the scientists, the earth's population will increase to 9.5 billion people by 2060. Therefore, people will need food. Considering the increasing demand for meat, it is better to have some ideas on alternative ways of meat production. Researchers calculate, mankind consumes 66.2 billion animals yearly. And planet resources will be able to provide production of 40 kg of meat per person.

Given the constant population growth, the production of artificial meat is of interest. In addition, lab-grown meat will reduce the amount of harmful waste, and solve ethical issues related to the killing of animals.

Lab-grown meat: how it’s made

As you know, meat is muscle. To grow these muscles in a lab, scientists remove stem cells out of the animal. Than you put these cells into bioreactors, where tons of muscle mass grow. Cells multiply rapidly in this environment, turning into small lumps resembling minced meat.

Some companies already use this method of meat production. Thus, the US-based company Memphis Meats produces chicken and duck meat using this method. The company's specialists extract cells from chicken fetal serum. Israeli firm SuperMeat grows chicken liver.

As far as the taste of lab-grown meat is concerned, it’s not that good. Impossible Foods startup is progressing in solving this problem and making the taste of artificial meat more natural. The company grows “beef” from vegetable-based cells. According to Impossible Foods CEO, it is difficult to create natural meat from animal stem cells. Therefore, researchers were engaged in the decomposition of beef into molecules for 5 years. As a result, they found out that the constituent, as close as possible to the texture of natural beef, are hemes (contained in hemoglobin). And it turned out, not only animal organisms have gems, but also plants, for example, soybeans. Thus, scientists decided to synthesize the "secret ingredient" out of soy.

Artificial beef is available in some American restaurants since 2016. Impossible Foods launched the commercially production of artificial beef in early 2017.

Making protein out of microorganisms

Scientists from Lappeenranta, Finland, developed the technology of protein production using bacteria. Hydrogen oxidizing bacteria that use carbon to create muscle cells are placed in a biological reactor, where molecular hydrogen is formed; bacteria need it as a source of energy. Thus, the cell mass in the reactor grows and becomes similar to the broth, it is then filtered and dried. The result is a white rich in protein powder.

Shitburger – meat from human feces

Japanese scientist Mitsuyuki Ikeda has developed artificial meat using protein extracted from human feces. It all started when Tokyo sewerage system service company asked Ikeda to find a solution on how to recycle the huge amounts of sewage disposals. After examining the samples from the sewer, scientist found bacteria that convert feces into protein. Ikeda extracted pure proteins, added flavor booster, food coloring and therefore created another kind of artificial meat. Nutritional value of such product: 63% of proteins, 25% of carbohydrates, 3% of fats and 9% of minerals. The Japanese called this substance Shitburger, but they are not yet ready to taste it.


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