Lab-Grown Meat Is Here; Demand, Not So Much

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Note: This is real meat. Mmm.
As time moves forward the world faces crisis after crisis, food shortages among the greatest of these shortages. Dr. Vladimir Mironov of the Department of Regenerative Medicine and Cell Biology at the Medical University of South Carolina has the solution: Grow it in a lab.

Sounds like something out of a dystopian futuristic sci-fi novel, doesn't it?

But just think about it--if we're going to hit 7 billion people in 2012 and there are already food shortages around the world then we are going to need to come with solutions pretty quickly here. But so many people can't get over the yuck factor that Dr. Mironov can't get funding for his lab. Dr. Mironov says that it would cost about $1 billion dollars to bring the product on the market.

The meat is created by taking myoblasts from an animal and bathing them in a protein rich nutrient bath made of bovine serum, and then it grows in thin layers. In the future they plan to add a vascular system which will allow for thick slabs of meat like steaks because the vascular system will bring the inner meat oxygen to grow. Fascinatingly enough, Dr. Mironov claims that they can produce any meat, give it meaty texture just like 'naturally' grown meat, and that they can even flavor the meat differently depending on your tastes. They can even add fat to a meat to make it more traditional.

Check out Reuters for the meat (get it?) of the story.

In order for Earth's population to continue to prosper (not that it really needs to grow anymore) and for long-distance space travel to be possible we as a society must accept a new method of getting food. If at all possible I'd prefer not to eat Soylent Green--so that said, I'll take genetically-modified lab-grown food over that tasty soylent any day.

[Source: Reuters / Photo: Elin B on Flickr; used under Creative Commons]

James Mulroy wonders if we'll ever see lab-grown bacon...

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