In-vitro meat

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In-vitro meat is the concept of growing meat in a laboratory environment. Growing meat in this way eliminates the need for farming in greenhouses and producing food for the animals. Nutrient solution for growing the meat can be isolated from plants grown in the greenhouse. In-vitro meat also eliminates the problem of what to do with the unwanted parts of the animal, such as bones, skin and offal. Although In-vitro meat is High-tech, it may use less space and energy and time to produce meat than raising animals would.

Mimicking Meats

Muscle tone will need to be developed to produce a laboratory culture that suitably mimics common animal meat products, and atrophy must be addressed by stimulating the cultured tissues to contract against a resistant force on a regularly scheduled basis. Providing suitable resistant forces will necessitate the development of a frame or scaffolding (read skeleton) to which muscles may be bound and forced to exercise. An alternative may be the use of tissues to pump fluids in the same way as a human heart.

A more easily developed method may be to produce meat similar to that which comes from invertebrate animals having no significant skeletal structure. Examples include squid, octopus, snail, clam, and oyster. Meats of this form have textures which differ from other animal products. While resistant forces will be less necessary, these tissues will still require regular contraction to maintain mass and prevent muscle deterioration.

However, mimicking the texture of meat may not be needed. Sausages, hamburger patties and several other meat products are made of ground up meat, and have a differant texture to normal meat. Gelatinous un-excersised meat may become a delicacy on Mars.

PETA prize

PETA is offering 1 million USD prize to anyone who brings into market in-vitro meat.

Open issues

  • Is this already possible or is this science fiction?
  • What technological effort is required to produce and maintain the machinery behind this concept?
  • What is the energy balance compared with legacy meat production?