Beaker Burgers From In Vitro Meat
In vitro meat, aka beaker burgers (and so forth - see references below), could be big business. You don't want the whole cow - just the steak. Dutch scientists are among the many who are interested in the $61 billion market in red meat alone.
Take a look at this prototype meat; it is described as having the texture of an undercooked egg.
"We're developing a very simplified version of what we know as meat," Mark Post, member of the Dutch artificial meat consortium supporting the research, explains. "The cells are grown in this dish within a growing medium and this unit is where they receive the electrical stimulation. These electrodes ensure there is an electrical current - about 1Hz - passing through the cells. To make these skeletal cells develop into muscle, they need to be constantly exercised, just like in the body." This, he explains, is one of the scientific hurdles for in vitro meat that has not yet been fully addressed. "We can convert stem cells into skeletal muscle cells; however, turning them into trained skeletal muscle appears to be a little harder."
(These muscle cells could use a workout)
"If you make a mass of muscle in a fomenter, you really don't want an infection," Henk Haagsman, professor of meat science at Utrecht, says. "We're working on natural antibiotics to combat this threat. In tissue cultures in the lab we use antibiotics in the medium. It's convenient in a lab, but you can't do this in a big commercial fomenter. Quorn [a meat-substitute made from mycoprotein, a nutritious fungi] has the same issue with fungi and we have to do the same. We have to find antibiotics that are derived from animals. For example, small peptides are found in animals, such as chickens and pigs, which prevent the infection. Maybe they can be used, but it all needs to be sterile from the beginning."
Proving to consumers that in vitro meat is safe to eat will be crucial, he says. This is why so much effort is being made to avoid relying on the "easy street" of genetic modification... But public acceptance of in vitro meat could prove a hurdle equal to the science.
The name chosen for the new product will determine its destiny, says Haagsman: "We don't want the words 'lab meat' to be used. 'Test-tube meat' does not have good connotations. Maybe we should not talk about meat at all. It is muscle - but maybe it's not meat? I would hesitate to call it meat. It's about perception. Meat is associated with killing animals. I was on television once, talking about it, and they held a contest asking viewers to send in suggestions. My favourite was 'krea', the Greek word for meat."
Hey, I've got an idea. Why not ask science fiction writers, who've been working with idea for about the last fifty years, to contribute some good names. Click on the links to get juicy quotes. (That pun was an accident, I swear.)
"Chicken Little from Pohl and Kornbluth's novel The Space Merchants .
"Carniculture from H. Beam Piper's Four-Day Planet .
"Pseudoflesh from Frank Herbert's Whipping Star .
"Vat-Grown Meat from William Gibson's Neuromancer .
"Food brick* from Larry Niven's Ringworld  (*they came in liver - raw liver - for kzinti).
"ChickieNobs from Margaret Atwood's novel Oryx and Crake .
Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 8/2/2009)
Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.
| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |
you like to contribute a story tip?
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add
Comment/Join discussion ( 5 )
Related News Stories -
Spicy Tomatoes Created With Genetic Engineering
How about mashed potatoes and brown gravy?
Shrimp Actually Made Of Algae Is A New Wave Food
Bring in that crop algae.
Nova Meat Can 3D Print Your Dinner
Printing out chicken nuggets.
Farming In Space Starts With Mycorrhiza
'The inner leaves were beginning to curl faster than the outer leaves.' - Robert Heinlein, 1949.
Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!)
is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for
the Invention Category that interests
you, the Glossary, the Invention
Timeline, or see what's New.
Unfurl The Future! Huawei Mate X versus Galaxy Fold
'A paper thin polycarbon screen unfurled silently from the top of the unit and immediately grew rigid.'
Amazon Echo And Google Home Should Have Morality Software
'The Dwoskin Morality Rating-Computer could 'spot the slightest tendency to deviation' from the social norm...'
China Building Robot Wives
'Want a life-companion, a pleasant one?'
China Social Credit System Like State-Run Whuffie
'At least there was no mandatory Whuffie check on the monorail platform...'
Project Soli Radar Gesture Chip Now FCC Approved
'He waved his hand and the circuit switched abruptly.'
Stan, Robot Valet, Will Drag Your Car Away
'He activated the grapple tracks. '
Jibo Home Robot Says Goodbye, Is Killswitched
'It resembles an oyster....'
Johns Hopkins Says Asteroid Deflection Will Be Difficult
'This obelisk is one huge deflector mechanism...'
Fabric Automatically Cools Or Insulates Based On Environment
'...a high-efficiency filter and heat-exchange system.'
Deepfakes From OpenAI GPT-2 Algorithm
'How can you compete with an IBM heavy-duty logomatic analogue?'
John Deere Self-Driving Tractor
'The huge plow... seemed to shake itself - and began to move back southward.'
North Focals Smart Glasses Provide Augmented Reality In Style
'The world ... is drenched in unfamiliar information all the way to the horizon.'
Tesla Driver Caught Napping Behind The Wheel
'Mary Risling settled back for a little nap...'
Hayabusa 2 To Begin Asteroid Mining
'We must dig down, and then doubtless we shall find the metal.'
Ionocraft Drone Powered By Electrohydrodynamic Thrust
'He saw one hiss by him as he rounded the corner, trailing a short whip antenna...'
Purdue Pharma Ready To Profit From OxyContin Use Or Addiction Recovery
'It may be organic damage. It may be permanent. Time'll tell, and only after you are off Substance D for a long while.'
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories