Yo! I recently had to write a one page description about an emerging technology, so since you know I’m a bit obsessed with food, I decided to do it on in-vitro meat, and I actually found reading about this quite interesting, so I thought I’d share my essay on here. Let me know your thoughts on this :)
With a world population that is estimated to reach 9 billion within the next 40 years, it is clearly critical to find a sustainable alternative to today’s traditional meat production.
In-Vitro Meat is one potential solution to this problem, since it’s real meat, but meat that has never been part of a complete animal, solving both logistical/sustainability and ethical problems. In-vitro meat is derived from real animal tissue and in theory a single cell from one animal could be used to feed the entire world population without stressing the environment.
Research for this was first undertaken by the NASA in order to find improved foods for astronauts in space. It is now supported by for example the Dutch government and organizations such as PETA.
The main challenges, this technology is currently facing, are scale and cost. With further technological advancements however, in-vitro meat could become what middle-class customers would describe as in-expensive, and therefore a viable option.
The majority of meat we consume is muscle. To produce in-vitro meat, muscle cells are taken to which the researchers then apply a protein, which helps the cells to grow into an actual portion of meat.
Once this is done and the initial cells are obtained, there are no additional animals required to produce this kind of meat.
- Once it has actually been introduced to the market and achieved a reasonable scale, it could be priced at about half the price of “real” or conventional meat.
- In-vitro meat could avoid the spread of farm animal diseases such as Swine Flue, Mad Cow and other animal to human plagues.
- There would be complete control over the production process, which would make it possible to eliminate unhealthy saturated fats and the like.
- A better sustainability compared to conventional farming. This is because conventional farming requires rather large quantities of scarce resources such as water.
- It would require 99% less land, 96% less water and would produce 96% less green house gases.