meat engineering

Edible Meat Can be Grown in a Lab on Industrial Scale

In a paper in the June 29 issue of Tissue Engineering, a team of scientists, including University of Maryland doctoral student Jason Matheny, propose two new techniques of tissue engineering that may one day lead to affordable production of in vitro – lab grown — meat for human consumption. It is the first peer-reviewed discussion of the prospects for industrial production of cultured meat.

Matheny’s team developed ideas for two techniques that have potential for large scale meat production. One is to grow the cells in large flat sheets on thin membranes. The sheets of meat would be grown and stretched, then removed from the membranes and stacked on top of one another to increase thickness.

“The challenge is getting the texture right,” says Matheny. “We have to figure out how to ‘exercise’ the muscle cells. For the right texture, you have to stretch the tissue, like a live animal would.”

(aghast) Ew! Ewwww!!!

(I got it from boingboing.)

3 thoughts on “meat engineering

  1. It is an interesting vegetarian question, philosophically. If one is vegetarian for cruelty reasons or because meat involves the death of an animal, well, its tough to be cruel to a bunch of cells in a dish and it wasn’t alive in the first place. If one is vegetarian for health reasons (fat, etc), the article makes it clear that lab grown meat can be made much healthier than actual meat. OTOH if one has given up meat for reasons related to the chemicals/hormones/antibiotics/god-knows-what used in current raising of livestock….meat grown in a lab isn’t much of an improvement.

    I asked Eric, vegetarian, if he would eat lab grown meat. Quoth: “Meat is meat. yuck.”

  2. Totally understand the reasons for vegetarianism that you cite. First one is (if I may be so bold) the most commonly cited reason for choosing a vegetarian diet and you are spot on. Growing meat in a lab, in other words to just munge cells about; is (technically) no different to eating fruits and vegetables.

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