Pork meat grown in the laboratory

Dec 01, 2009 by Lin Edwards weblog
meat

(PhysOrg.com) -- Scientists from Eindhoven University in The Netherlands have for the first time grown pork meat in the laboratory by extracting cells from a live pig and growing them in a petri dish.

The scientists, led by Professor of Physiology Mark Post, extracted myoblast cells from a living pig and grew them in a solution of nutrients derived from the blood of animal fetuses (although they intend to replace the solution with a synthesized alternative in the future).

Professor Post said artificially cultured could mean the meat of one animal could be increased to a volume equivalent to the meat of a million animals, which would reduce animal suffering and be good for the environment. As long as the final product looks and tastes like meat, Post said he is convinced people will buy it.

At present the product is a sticky, soggy and unappetizing , but the team is seeking ways to exercise and stretch the muscles to turn the product into meat of a more familiar consistency. Post described the current in-vitro meat product as resembling wasted muscle, but he is confident they can improve its texture. Nobody has yet tasted the cultured meat because laboratory rules prevent the scientists tasting the product themselves.

The research is partly funded by the Dutch government, but is also backed by the Dutch sausage-making firm Stegeman, which is owned by food giant Sara Lee. The scientists (and presumably, the sausage makers) believe the meat product may be available for use in sausages within five years.

Other groups are also working on trying to produce cultured meat. NASA has funded research in the US on growing fish chunks from cells and meat from turkey cells, with the idea that the technology could have wide application in future space travel, since growing edible muscle would allow future astronauts to avoid a range of problems associated with using live animals in space. In a June 29 paper in the journal another group of scientists proposed new techniques that could lead to industrial production of meat grown in cultures.

The reaction of vegetarian groups has been mixed. A representative of PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) said as long as the meat was not the flesh of a dead animal there would be no ethical objection. Last year PETA even offered a prize of $1 million to the first person or group who could come up with a commercially viable cultured meat product. Other vegetarians have been more guarded, with a representative of The Vegetarian Society saying the main foreseeable problems would be labeling issues, as it would be difficult to label products containing cultured meat in a way that vegetarians would trust.


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User comments : 53

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Husky
5 / 5 (6) Dec 01, 2009
I like meat, but i dont like animal suffering, so yes, and hopefully, onces perfected, growing in vitro meat possibly requires less energy, water, crops for cattlefood, oil and generate less methane / co2 emissions. At present the foodchain of the world is pressured because crops are used for cattlefood and biodiesel and it takes many kilos of crops to grow one kilo of meat. Many resources of the earth will be freed if this matures and get big, its like having your juicy steak and eat it to.

And it might give a big push to growing spare parts for your own body (and all the blurring ethical issues that come with it)
SincerelyTwo
5 / 5 (3) Dec 01, 2009
We should do this even if it offered little 'profit' or even efficiency. Our species is in incredible need to have alternative fuels and food sources as soon as possible, I would say at even an expense against us if it had to ultimately come down to that.

Why? I'm not a hippie but only an idiot would suggest there is an unlimited amount of resources on this planet, so we might as well not interrupt the entire ecological system for something we can create artificially. We owe our environment that much respect at *least in order to sustain future centuries of our race without having to resort to post-apocalyptic scenarios.

I would go so far as to promote we mine foreign bodies such as moons and other planets for resources to use on earth, instead of having to rely on local resources.

These things would all be a fantastic endeavor for our species, we would push the limits of our technology and space travel in the process.

Science!
DozerIAm
5 / 5 (7) Dec 01, 2009
I am a meat and potatos man, no tree hugger by any measure, but I can't look at this article and see anything other than a brighter, more hopeful tomorrow. Commercial beef/pork/chicken operations generate tons of "waste product", and because of common practices like regularly feeding the animals antibiotics and hormones - as well as grinding up animals that died and feeding them to the surviving animals - probably contribute to health issues to people.

I'll take my synthetic steak medium rare, please!
degojoey
5 / 5 (5) Dec 01, 2009
hell if it looks like steak, smells like steak........ Must be Steak! Ill take mine medium!
mikehevans
5 / 5 (4) Dec 01, 2009
They are going to have to culture pork fat to go along with the meat, or it will taste like poo.
Andrux
5 / 5 (5) Dec 01, 2009
No wonder sausage companies are interested in this. They already stuff their sausages with the worst crap left of the carcasses. If they have a way to find a purer kind of meat (but still a gooey crap) it can only be good for them. And if they start selling this meat for less than the real stuff, people will certainly buy it
ealex
not rated yet Dec 01, 2009
If it doesn't contain any foreign additives and it won't cause me to grow a second head, I don't care what it looks like really. Everything looks better once it's grilled.

Excellent research, but I doubt the pig farmers will take kindly to this bit of news and it will be a long long long long way till we actually stop or even reduce the mass slaughter of pigs (no drama implied, even though it would in part be justified after seeing some documentaries out there on meat and animal raising/processing).
dtxx
1 / 5 (1) Dec 01, 2009
I doubt the people who shovel pig shit for a living will be the same ones qualified to operate the meatlab, so they will probably fight this tooth and nail once it starts making its way towards market. I would imagine the meat industry in general has a fairly significant network of lobbyists. Maybe it wouldn't have to put them out of business, but I can't see myself buying much 'real' meat once this starts tasting like the real thing.
DozerIAm
not rated yet Dec 01, 2009
They may fight it, but give people the choice of equally tasty, equally nutritious, equally appetising products and the less expensive one will usually win. Especially since this alternative meat will be real, just not grown "on the hoof", I can see it failing or succeeding entirely on the 4 criteria listed above (taste, nutrition, looking/smelling good, price).

My feeling is, while most people may fret about the state of our feedstock welfare, I doubt most people will change their behavior on an ethical/moral basis. But give them an equal product at a cheaper price, and heck yea all of the sudden everyone's a symbeef fan!

And since feedstock is a commodity (there is no brand preference for a live pig/cow/chicken), the only thing that needs to happen to get people to switch is to out perform on the 4 categories above.
otto1923
not rated yet Dec 01, 2009
I think I'd prefer venison or at least wild boar. Livestock have been selected for quantity over quality for 1000s of years and little resemble the stuff we evolved eating. This is a chance to actually eat healthier foods our systems were designed for- yay. They could even do mammoth from the occasional frozen carcass which I understand is sometimes sold in Russian restaurants- or is that urban legend?
tpb
4.2 / 5 (5) Dec 01, 2009
Don't think antibiotics won't be needed, since the meat cultures won't have an immune system, any microbial contamination would wipe out the culture.
googleplex
not rated yet Dec 01, 2009
The added benefit is that the meat would be virtually fat free by definition. No lipid cells => no fat.
Those who want the fat could add lard as required.:)
isi23
5 / 5 (4) Dec 01, 2009
How about human synthetic meat, would be OK to eat it?
nkalanaga
not rated yet Dec 01, 2009
The only problem with adding lard is that lard is made from pigs! Unless they cultured the lard, which wouldn't be impossible, one would have to either kill a pig just for the lard or use vegetable fats.

As for eating synthetic human, that could be an interesting debate. Since nobody was killed, and it could be made from ones own cells, I can't see any LEGAL problem. On the other hand, the ETHICS are highly debatable. I doubt that I'd try it, but there are almost certainly those who would.
PinkElephant
not rated yet Dec 01, 2009
I've read that allegedly human meat is quite delicious.... Yum!

Yeah, I must admit this one really threw me. Few things ever do, but this time I really don't know how I'd react to such a product. On the other hand, if they just label it "Soylent Green"...

I suppose the biggest thing here would be, as some of the cited vegetarians said, the labeling and the assurance of product purity and sourcing. I mean, what's to stop some unscrupulous crematory operator from running a little side business in "meat products"...? Or worse yet, some gang goon enterprise that "recycles" their enemies (or just random strangers) for cash? (Then again, what's to stop them from doing such things even with ordinary processed meat products?)

How do you control for absolute purity (i.e. ensure no questionable admixtures) even if you can bioengineer some fluorescent or otherwise easily detectable marker into the artificial meat?
DarwiN100
not rated yet Dec 02, 2009
Woow, love this... Was waiting for this article a long time, and my guess was that I will see such a steak on my plate some 20 years from now...But this is awesome and I can set this date back to around 2020...
Just amazing, good work, all these teams around the world working on this, should get enormous support now..
Simonsez
not rated yet Dec 02, 2009
I personally do not have a problem with livestock "suffering" so that I can have a delicious pork chop or ham or steak or roast. I do, however, understand and agree with other comments presented here regarding the finite resources we have. If there is a way to get cheaper meat that tastes just the same WITHOUT any side effects, I guess I am all for it.

Maybe PETA will shut up about our treatment of veal!
DozerIAm
not rated yet Dec 02, 2009
veal is delicious in part because of the fat content. See above posts about this stuff being "no fat".

Speaking of lard being from pigs, that's only partially true - when I was growing up my mom would be jars of chicken lard to use in recipes. Presumably, lard = fat by definition and isn't species specific.
nkalanaga
not rated yet Dec 02, 2009
No, but the taste varies by species.
kimber
not rated yet Dec 02, 2009
I live in NW Iowa and work at a hog processing facility. Just about 90% of the jobs in this area are farm/meat related. If this thing took off, I don't know what would happen to the economy of our state! From the farmers who raise the hogs, cattle, poultry & the grain to feed them, to the store or the bank where they spend their money, the entire economy of this area is dependent on farming. We've already seen hundreds of thousands moving to the cities, will everyone have to move to the city to survive? Good for the animals, I agree, but bad, bad, bad for the humans living here!
nkalanaga
not rated yet Dec 02, 2009
I don't think the farmers have to panic quite yet. It would probably take at least a generation for cultured meat consumption to overtake "farm meat", simply because most of the older consumers wouldn't change.

Second, there will always be people who don't want to change. Unless someone makes it illegal to eat animals, many people will keep doing so.

Third, the grain and grass growers will find plenty of markets, including people food, biofuels, and nutrient production for the cultured meat.

At the worst, for many years to come, the growth of cultured meat should balance the number of farmers quitting the business and subdividing their land.

Eventually? Yes, it probably will replace all but the organic and hobby farms, but that will take many years, and society will have plenty of time to adjust. Besides, one good health scare could derail the whole idea for years, even if it isn't the process's fault.
felicityhope
not rated yet Dec 04, 2009
So we can eliminate all the farm animals and encourage the wild animals to come back to graze all that supposedly freed up land? And we can just keep fertilizing crops with petrochemicals. I'm sure there must also be petrochemicals involved in this slurry or ''solution of nutrients derived from the blood of animal fetuses'' in which ''the meat of one animal could be increased to a volume equivalent to the meat of a million animals'' as Japan, France and Italy already produce feeds from petrochemicals. But how does that reduce our dependance on petrochemicals, and what happens when we've run out of all this biological waste from millions of years ago? What will we eat then when we've forgotten how to grow food without resorting to petrochemical fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, let alone meat! And that's not to mention the inherent safety problems.
otto1923
not rated yet Dec 04, 2009
How about human synthetic meat
Consider that the favorite food in many parts of rural Africa is bush meat which is gorilla or chimp which is essentially, more or less, human. Also consider that throughout prehistory cannibalism was an expected result of overpop, and that conflict over resources left a lot of good protein strewn about the battlefield. As most fighting was ambush-style there was often little difference between it and hunting. We are immune to certain human prions as evidence of this. Anyways, I'm sure it would sell big in many parts of the world and maybe save some endangered primates. Yay.
otto1923
not rated yet Dec 04, 2009
I live in NW Iowa and work at a hog processing facility. Just about 90% of the jobs
This would be a big deal high tech industry with large complex facilities with nice clean lunchrooms. Instead of working in stockyards and abattoirs youse guys would be working in white scrubs and cleanrooms. It's a good thing. Clean. We'd know exactly what was in our food and could tailor it by say adding omega 3 and reducing methionine.
RJB26
not rated yet Dec 05, 2009
ha,my ancestors didnt fight their way to the top of the food chain to eat pork flavored jelly. seriously though is there no aspect of human life that these eco nazis havent slid thier tendrils into. if you cant get people to trust the eggheads tweaking genes in thier corn and beans do you think they will eat flaccid meat grown in vats. this might be useful for a deep space flight but lets face it, as long as humans roam on terra firma they will eat delicious natural, well mostly natural critters. we are removed from the natural order of things enough without having to grow meat in a lab. i dont buy into the notion that the world is going to melt if we dont stop eating meat and like it or not 95% of humanity agrees with me. now if youll excuse me im off to the grill. lol.
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (1) Dec 05, 2009
A (semiserious) argument for synthetic human meat: For optimal nutrition we need food which holds the optimal mix of nutrients for us to build new human tissue out of.

Obviously human meat contains just that mix.

So if they make synthetic meat they might as well make meat that does best what it should do: nourish us.

Call it what you want. If it's health, nourishes me, and is tasty (and has a good consistency) then I won't have any ethical qualms about eating it just because it's based on some humam cell primers.

If it means that other animals aren't being killed then that is just an additional bonus.
otto1923
5 / 5 (1) Dec 05, 2009
I just ate an ostrich and ? Slimjim-like product I got at a healthfood store. It tasted like a slimjim. Not quite as good. It could have been filled with artificial whatever and I wouldn't have known the difference. Same with fake bacon, tofu patties, lunchmeat, Hotdogs, any processed meat. It would be a better additive than melamine.
michaelick
not rated yet Dec 05, 2009
I have somehow a bad feeling about all this. Especially this debate about human meat reminds me of "The Matrix", where the living people were fed by the dead ones. But why not? You don't kill anyone, they are already dead and the only things left are nutrients.

From a logical point of view, this idea of eating synthetic meat is no problem, but ethics aren't always about logical thinking. However, when I think about the conditions many animals live with the only purpose to be killed - it really is a very difficult topic.

I am not a vegeterian, though I believe we should think about how much meat we really need to eat. Not because of the animals, but in order to live a healthy life.
pubwvj
not rated yet Dec 05, 2009
Small detail. The nutrients have to come from somewhere. With natural pasture raised animals we get the nutrients from primarily from farming sunshine. The clover and other plants suck carbon, oxygen, hydrogen and nitrogen out of the air and make food that the animals turn into high quality proteins and lipids. Great stuff. Anything else is a poor, unsustainable imitation based on petrochemicals. Go ahead and become dependent on lab based meat. Lose your culture's historic knowledge of how to survive. Evolution will cut you off at the ankles.
kasen
5 / 5 (1) Dec 06, 2009
Somehow I doubt the overall energetic balance would improve. One could argue that no more energy will be expended on inedible parts, such as bones, or simply on the animal's actions(movement, thermal comfort), but then again, a considerable amount of energy needs to be invested in maintaining a very complex mechanism. Chemicals need to be synthesised, processes need to be fine-tuned, machinery needs to be kept functioning and clean.

What we'd really gain is greater and finer control over this important aspect of human life. Control being the key word here. Almost anyone can grow pigs, with a little training. You need some serious scientific background to understand the above process, not to mention entire industries to provide the tools.

Centralisation, hyper-specialisation, integration, mass culture...Seems to be the predominant trend. Let's hope our bodies won't fail our minds.
otto1923
5 / 5 (1) Dec 06, 2009
Lose your culture's historic knowledge of how to survive
So evolution taught me to survive by shopping at the grocery store? Kind of hard to hunt on mars or wherever the human race is headed. The foods we eat today little resemble what we evolved to eat. They are chronically lacking in nutrients that our bodies were designed to need. Vitamin D for instance- we no longer run around naked in the sun so we've got to suppliment our food with it. Celery takes more energy to digest than it produces in the body.
antialias_physorg
not rated yet Dec 06, 2009
michaelick: Nobody is talking about 'dissolving dead people'. No dead people are involved in any of this. We're talking about cell cultures. It's hard to get ethical about cell cultures that were never part of a living organismn (and hence also not of a dead one). It's more like growing mushrooms. I'm have no ethical qualms about eating mushrooms.

kasen: Meat production by raising animals is incredibly inefficient. Animals do a lot of things that require energy which doesn't go into meat production at all (thinking/breathing alone requires the better part of all energy the animal takes up). Then there's all the lost stuff during defecation and methane expulsion (which is a greenhouse gas which is significant given the size of today's meat-animal herds)

I think putting some voltage through a petri dish would have a better energy balance by far.
jimbo92107
5 / 5 (2) Dec 06, 2009
Finally, the time is right for MeatMat(tm). Grown in converted, abandoned NFL domed stadiums, MeatMat resides in water-tight flats upon the artificial turf, absorbing nutrients harvested from algae grown atop the dome's vast roof area. Retired soccer players will jog upon the moist, flaccid muscle tissue to provide "exercise" along with periodic jolts of electricity to stimulate spasms, building a stronger, tastier product. Soon you, too will order steak not by the pound, but by the square yard! MeatMat!
kasen
not rated yet Dec 06, 2009
I think putting some voltage through a petri dish would have a better energy balance by far.


Would that it were! But the entire process sounds a lot more complicated. Also, unlike traditional sources, it's very linear and interconnected. Power failures, stray bacteria, ill intentioned employees, computer errors. One misbehaving element could mean starvation for an entire city, should things develop that big, that fast. Every redundancy that needs to be implemented draws more energy.

As for space-borne applications, I'm pretty sure it's cheaper to grow plants, GM or not. Or send robots...
antialias_physorg
not rated yet Dec 06, 2009
Have each portion grown in its own, sterile compartment - much less chance of stray bacteria infecting a whole crop than when you have traditional herds (and centralized slaughter houses!). At most you'll be infecting one portion at a time - and the technology to have a detector chip for something like this in every compartment already exists.

Of course you need to feed the stuff nutrients. Probably we could get those from fermentation of grass (just like animals do). I'm no biochemist so I don't know how many different things they need. But given that all of that is going towards builing meat instead of 70%+ being wasted on other organs and unrelated activities...

Power failures aren't a biggie unless you live in a banana republic and have never heard of backup generators or batteries (and so what if the stuff doesn't get 'excercise' for a day? We grow plants in greenhouses on artificial soil substitutes with nutrient feed drips - that's not so much different.
kasen
2 / 5 (1) Dec 06, 2009
Growing each portion separately...that's a lot of petri dishes. I'm not sure how you could have detector chips to discriminate between bacterial/viral infections, necrosis, genetic abnormalities and other such stuff. My expertise consists of watching medical drama serials and those doctors always have to analyse samples through microscopes, no computer magic. Power failure doesn't just mean the stuff doesn't exercise, it also means fried detector chips, software going haywire, all sorts of sensitive equipment malfunctioning.

I'm just playing devil's advocate, here, really. My point is that all that extra technology eats up roughly as much energy as nature's inefficiencies, gives a far greater control of the product, but also decreases overall system "robustness". Technology achieves, nature persists.

Finally, we mustn't forget that very little of a modern day pig goes to waste. Today's food industry has become grotesquely efficient, especially from a purely economical standpoint.
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (1) Dec 06, 2009
Detection of abnormality is pretty simple, since it invariably alters the pH balance (no matter whether it's necrosis, baterial infection, viral infection, ... ).
Genetic abnormalities aren't a problem, either: we can eat pigs with mutations just fine (and do so almost every day). DNA is destroyed by cooking and doesn't affect us anyways - even were we eat the meat raw. But since we're talking about controlled meat production it would likely be 'clone meat' so the genetic variability would be zero (genetic variability happens only when sex or mutagens are involved - not in controlled clone dishes)

Petri dishes: we grow plants in their own compartments all over the world. The compartments can be sterilized and reused.

Power failures do NOT fry chips or cause software to go haywire. A lightning bolt might - but then again: how likely is that (and you can easily protect against it). How do I know this? I'm a biomedical electrical engineer (developing image-based diagnostics software)
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (1) Dec 06, 2009
My point is that all that extra technology eats up roughly as much energy as nature's inefficiencies,

I doubt that. If you can grow a pork chop in 14 days it will be more efficient than supporting a pig for 6 months. Pigs require a lot of energy input, too (someone needs to farm the food crops, trasnport them, distribute them, ... )

but also decreases overall system "robustness".

The 'robustness' of 'natural' pig farming is bought at a high price: Constant feeding with antibiotica and supplements. Stuff I'd rather not have in my meat.

grotesquely efficient, especially from a purely economical standpoint.

So why not spend all the energy on producing only high quality products instead of a lot of bone, lard and gristle?

those doctors always have to analyse samples through microscopes,

Diagnostics vs QA. Diagnostics needs to know WHAT is wrong. A chip only needs to know THAT something is wrong. This is much easier to accomplish.
rjm1percent
3 / 5 (2) Dec 06, 2009
I live in NW Iowa and work at a hog processing facility. Just about 90% of the jobs in this area are farm/meat related. If this thing took off, I don't know what would happen to the economy of our state! From the farmers who raise the hogs, cattle, poultry & the grain to feed them, to the store or the bank where they spend their money, the entire economy of this area is dependent on farming. We've already seen hundreds of thousands moving to the cities, will everyone have to move to the city to survive? Good for the animals, I agree, but bad, bad, bad for the humans living here!


How about acquiring some scientific knowledge and actually aiding the process yourself? There's a job for ya
rjm1percent
not rated yet Dec 06, 2009
Instead of petri dishes, why not adapt a computer printer to print animal cells onto an agarose gel medium, if the cells are then layered with minimal distance between them, they would adhere and form tissue. I'm sure there would also be a process in which the excess agarose could be extracted from the tissue. Voila! I'll have mine with chips and watties sauce
antialias
not rated yet Dec 07, 2009
Instead of petri dishes, why not adapt a computer printer to print animal cells onto an agarose gel medium,


Because then you just get a blob of cells and no fibers with a preferred direction. Fibers are important for texture.
nada
not rated yet Dec 07, 2009
sythesized pork -> sythesized meat -> huge corporation -> failure of process -> outraged stockholders -> secret workaround -> Solent Green
kasen
not rated yet Dec 07, 2009
antialias_physorg: By genetic abnormalities I meant cells not developing properly, which could occur at any growth stage, spoiling a whole batch. As for petri dishes, I was going to say that plants can grow in anything, even water, but it struck me that the same might be true for synthetic meat. In fact, it's probably more optimal than individual steaks.

The problem is that these don't need just water, they also need foetus blood. So you have to synthesise that, process the nutrients beforehand and add them in right amounts, maybe add taste enhancers and various control chemicals, all in a finely-tuned ambient. And the stuff needs exercise. By the way, doesn't that require motor neurons along with muscle fiber?

So most of the process would be computer controlled, probably a pretty big, multi-core computer. The more complex a system, the more potential sources of breakdown. The traditional method just needs a pig and sunshine, both self-controlled.
antialias_physorg
not rated yet Dec 07, 2009
By genetic abnormalities I meant cells not developing properly, which could occur at any growth stage, spoiling a whole batch.

Since each would be in its individual jar only one jr would 'spoil'. And in the absence of mutagens that chance is pretty low.
And the stuff needs exercise. By the way, doesn't that require motor neurons along with muscle fiber?
Yes and no. you can enervate muscle tissue directly if you want to. But since they're aiming to grow an entire muscle (which isn't too much harder) I'd guess it contains nervous tissue as well.
The more complex a system, the more potential sources of breakdown.

When's the last time your server at work went down? I mean down to the point that caused some sort of damage? Stuff in petri dishes can survive without surveillance/excercise for a few days if need be (and this system is not complex - its just very parallel). And if all fails: throw out a batch, or use it as nutrient base for the next batch.
antialias_physorg
not rated yet Dec 07, 2009
If the petri dishes were interconnected and would influence each other I'd agree that you'd have high complexity. But like this?
You wouldn't even need a computer - a regular hospital drip and a two cents flip flop with attached capacitors could do the job. It isn't like petri dish X suddenly needs twice as much nutrient as petri dish Y. If all are grown from cloned cells under identical conditions then the nutrient requirements and excercise regimes should be fairly identical. Hook up a pH sensor in every dish to an alarm and your basically set (I'm oversimplifying a bit but not by much)
kasen
5 / 5 (1) Dec 07, 2009
So why not spend all the energy on producing only high quality products instead of a lot of bone, lard and gristle?


Well, personally I'd spend all that energy on developing an alternative for the human body. We can reach the stars, manufacture life, create intelligence and we're wasting all that potential on satisfying basic instincts and dodging self-imposed guilt. The epitome of biochemical engineering: artificial steaks.

Now, if this was the only sustainable food source alternative, I'd concede. But there are simpler, more resilient methods, the ones of modern food industries not being amongst them. If we want to stay on Earth, we need to adapt ourselves to it, not the other way around. The same goes for space.

I mean, seriously, if you were on a spaceship, gazing on the wonders of the cosmos, would you really give a damn about the lunch menu?
kasen
not rated yet Dec 07, 2009
Stuff in petri dishes can survive without surveillance/excercise for a few days if need be


I really think you're over-simplifying. It's not bacteria, it's something that would normally be part of a living organism. Some circulation system should be required, at the very least. Oxygen levels need to be kept within certain levels and the stuff can't get too dry, either.

When's the last time your server at work went down?


If my box fails, I lose some data, maybe have to reinstall. If the mainframe of the local food source decides to ignore the fact that the current batch has been infected and approves distribution, it's a whole different story. It's a very unlikely scenario, true, but I just don't trust computers.
pauljpease
5 / 5 (1) Dec 07, 2009
For those non-biologists out there... there is a reason why they need to feed these cultures nutrients from animal fetuses. They're called growth factors (i.e. hormones). Cell cultures need the proper mix of hormones to grow into tissue. The mass production of these hormones is going to slow down the progress of this technology.

Has anyone ever thought to just inject the nutrients directly into a person rather than go through the hassle of creating meat that the person has to digest. I know most people live for food, but there are those who don't and it would really save them a lot of money and environmental impact if they could cut out the "middle man" so to speak. Ultimately, we do seem to be headed towards this "Matrix" style culture, what with shrinking living spaces, the drive for efficiency and the creation of virtual worlds. In 100 years there will probably be a significant number of people living in their own self-created matrix, absorbing cheap nutrients intravenously. Yum!
kasen
not rated yet Dec 07, 2009
Has anyone ever thought to just inject the nutrients directly into a person


There's the issue of the gastrointestinal system starting to atrophy, with all the complications arising from that. Like it or not, our bodies have evolved in response to specific environmental factors and they can't change by themselves over-night, or even in a lifetime. The mind is far more plastic, though.
antialias_physorg
not rated yet Dec 07, 2009
Has anyone ever thought to just inject the nutrients directly into a person

Drip feeds in hospitals? Think coma patients or intensive care. It's been done routinely for quite a few decades.

There's the issue of the gastrointestinal system starting to atrophy, with all the complications arising from that.
Also your teeth need excercise or they rot/fall out (this is why texture is so important in artificial meat)
rjm1percent
not rated yet Dec 07, 2009
I mean, seriously, if you were on a spaceship, gazing on the wonders of the cosmos, would you really give a damn about the lunch menu?


Think about a romantic lunch with Scarlett Johansson, in space, gazing out at the cosmos. Would be a bit of a downer if you were spoon feeding each other a mixture of lard and sawdust, and drinking sewage.
PinkElephant
not rated yet Dec 07, 2009
Human bodies are atrocious at space-faring. Far more effective would be completely non-biological bodies. The only real problem to solve, is how to transfer a living brain into a completely equivalent artificial one, without any loss of information (well... that, plus how to build such an artificial brain in the first place so it's reasonably compact, energetically efficient, and at least equivalent performance-wise.) From then on, virtual immortality (with proper maintenance and regular backups) and unlimited deep-space exploration and interstellar travel become much more achievable. I sense it's all going in that direction anyway. Natural evolution can only take us so far; the rest will have to be accomplished via Intelligent Design. :-)
otto1923
not rated yet Dec 08, 2009
Fibers are important for texture
Texture is not important for hot dogs, sausage, ground meat, etc. Chewiness can be added during processing. Protein first, steaks can come later.
Human bodies are atrocious at space-faring
Thats why I doubt aliens would come here in person.

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