PayPal founder bankrolls 3-D printed meat

August 20, 2012 by Nancy Owano, Phys.org report
meat

(Phys.org) -- A Missouri-based company may have an impact on environmental issues raised by nations of meat-eaters and populations bearing the brunt of world hunger with an alternative, bioprinted meat. According to the company, Modern Meadow, creating “a strip of edible porcine tissue using print-based tissue engineering approach” is “scaffold-free,” in that it does not rely on artificial material to form the desired structure. The company founders aspire to develop lab-grown meat as a source of animal protein and to benefit from a technology with great market potential. The company, aptly named Modern Meadow, is founded by Gabor Forgacs and Andras Forgacs.

Bioprinted is a concept that is not a rarity for scientists interested in technologies for creating medical-grade tissue. Modern Meadow is taking off from what it knows about regenerative medicine and 3-D printing to explore this edible solution. The basic idea is layering cells, rather than inks, into a structure using print technology. Gabor Forgacs has already made a name in the area of research looking at regenerative medicine. As the scientific founder of Organovo, which has been recognized for its work in bioprinting, he set out to show that if cells are precisely placed with the proper natural developmental cues, they could self-assemble into fully formed, functional tissue. The idea is that via computer-aided design and high precision, one can recreate the micro-architecture of human tissue. Similarly, the company says that mixtures of cells of different types layered in a specific structure is a feasible way to produce edible meat.

According to a statement from the company, “We anticipate that this Phase I application will result in a macroscopic size (~2 cm x 1 cm x 0.5 mm) edible prototype and will demonstrate that bioprinting-based in vitro meat production is feasible, economically viable and environmentally practical.”

Environmentalists do not disagree that engineering meat in a lab poses advantages. Lab-grown meat would not produce the methane that cows emit; animals would require less water and grain; pasture lands would benefit as well. Modern Meadow co-founder Andras Forgacs has called the hamburger an environmental train wreck.

The venture is backed by Thiel’s foundation via its Breakout Labs, which is a revolving fund to promote scientific and technological innovation. Successful grantees return a modest royalty and warrant stake to Breakout Labs. The exact dollar amount of the donation is not given, but the announcement dated August 15 said “To date Breakout Labs has awarded a total of nine grants, of up to $350,000 each."

Explore further: Pork meat grown in the laboratory

More information: www.breakoutlabs.org/uploads/m … ase_2012-8-14_01.pdf

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17 comments

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alfie_null
2.3 / 5 (3) Aug 20, 2012
I wonder how much (or little) energy/food has to be invested in growing these tissues vs. growing a cow?

An ethical issue: this technology could be used to create any type of flesh, including (as they state) long pig?
NeutronicallyRepulsive
5 / 5 (1) Aug 20, 2012
I'm ready to download that "Juicy Steak.food" file.
evolution3
not rated yet Aug 20, 2012
This is awesome.I wonder if vegetarian who say they don't eat meat because tehy don't want animals to die for them would eat this?
NeutronicallyRepulsive
5 / 5 (4) Aug 20, 2012
evoluion3: I've asked few of them, and they all told me, that they still won't eat meat. Therefore I'm now sure, they (at least those I asked) are not eating meat, because they either don't like the taste, or few of them think that meat is not good for the humans. Some of them retracted this idea later, when I gave them the link where the chimpanzees are hunting (and later eating) a monkey. So when a synthetic meat is available, the vegetarians (not to say vegans) can be pretty safely moved to a "cranks" folder.
antialias_physorg
3.7 / 5 (3) Aug 20, 2012
An ethical issue: this technology could be used to create any type of flesh, including (as they state) long pig?

Why would this be an ethical issue? The ethical problem with cannibalism isn't about the substance. This is obvious if you look at the first part of your post:
I wonder how much (or little) energy/food has to be invested in growing these tissues vs. growing a cow?

No one has any problems with artificially grown pig/cow/chicken meat. Killing animals for food, however, IS an ethical issue for some.
The process of raising livestock is pretty energy intensive. So I'd guess artificial meat could be made with less energy expenditure.
Even if it were the same the ethical question and the better ability to control the quality (BSE-free, free of antibiotics and whatnot) would make it preferrable.
antialias_physorg
1 / 5 (1) Aug 20, 2012
I wonder if vegetarian who say they don't eat meat because tehy don't want animals to die for them would eat this?

It depends on why someone is vegetarian. Because they don't like animals killed? Because they don't like the taste of meat products? Because they think eating no meat is healthier?

For most vegetarians it's a mix of these, so only for the type of vegetarian that doesn't subscribe to the last of the three reasons given will artificial meat be an option.

Most vegetarians I know do think it does give some health benefits - so I wouldn't expect them to change.

Deathclock
1.8 / 5 (6) Aug 20, 2012
If you like animals you should eat all the meat you can, because if everyone stopped eating meat we would no have no reason to keep these animals and most of them solely exist in captivity. I wonder how long the modern pig would last if we completely stopped using them for food? Some would be let out into the wild and would turn feral, mate with wild boars... but they wouldn't look like the pigs we know for long.

Dairy cows would fair better with this technology, unless it can also produce milk...

Though in response to the article I have to say I am all for manufacturing meat, if only because it's likely far cheaper to do on large scales than farming and would reduce the price of high energy, high protein food.

Ethical implications? There are none... I would eat manufactured anything meat, dog, human, dolphin, you name it... it was never part of a living conscious organism so who cares?
Shootist
1 / 5 (6) Aug 20, 2012
[---
Osiris1
1 / 5 (2) Aug 20, 2012
Yeccchhhh, the stuff tastes like toner!
tekram
1 / 5 (1) Aug 20, 2012
Has anybody here actually researched the problem? Presently, the porcine tissue culture cells used for 3D printed meat are extracted myoblast cells from a living pig and grown in a solution of nutrients derived from the blood of animal fetuses.

These products are not grown de novo from plants or base organic chemicals.

morilindez
not rated yet Aug 20, 2012
To Deathclock:

If you like animals, then you won't breed them just to eat them. Never existing is better than leading a pathetic, painful existence just to die at the end to become food for someone. Also, yes, pigs, cows and chickens would not exist as we know them: practically incapable of moving around or providing for themselves. What a travesty! Letting animals live in the wild is what we should be going for, not breeding an animal that is so worthless outside of providing a food supply that it can't live without our intervention. It's very similar to wanting to keep an absolutely brain-dead human eternally on a ventilator. While it may seem like a nice thing to do on the surface, it's really not in the best interest of the person or the care facility.
Jeddy_Mctedder
1 / 5 (2) Aug 20, 2012
I want to eat human flesh. I think a machine like this might finally allow my dreams of cannibalization to come true by legalizing the consumption of printed human meat.

Finally.
Tektrix
not rated yet Aug 20, 2012
Don't you need to exercise the vat-meat to give it the same mouth-feel as meat-meat?
Deathclock
1 / 5 (1) Aug 20, 2012
To Deathclock:

If you like animals, then you won't breed them just to eat them. Never existing is better than leading a pathetic, painful existence just to die at the end to become food for someone.


I live in upstate new york, there are farms all around me, when I see cows or pigs they are in huge fenced in fields, more or less free to roam around and do what they please. I know cows, I've grown up around them my entire life... with or without the fences, they would do the exact same thing. Their life is as good as it's going to be on farms (if not better thanks to excellent medical care), at least in the area I live.
elektron
1 / 5 (1) Aug 20, 2012
...edible porcine tissue...


Delicious as it sounds, it nevertheless baffles me why so much effort is put into producing a food that is utterly unnecessary. Humans require a high carbohydrate diet and low protein, and there are better quality proteins available in vegetables and legumes. Tastier too.
BIG COCK
Aug 20, 2012
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
antialias_physorg
3 / 5 (2) Aug 21, 2012
I wonder how long the modern pig would last ?

You mean the individual pig or the species? The individual pig already alive would probably live longer. As for unborn generations to come: who cares (right now it's forced insemination anyhow, so that's not really good for 'maximizing happiness' in any case)

I would eat manufactured anything meat, dog, human,

Manufactured human meat would probably be best: because it, by definition, contains all we humans need in the right amount.

so much effort is put into producing a food that is utterly unnecessary

Because some vitamins (and stuff like iron) aren't accessible in plant food to our digestive tracts.

That a plant has them doesn't mean that your body can use them. There's reason why herbivores have very long intestinal tracts and chew the cud. Humans do not have that ability. We crudely emulate that with cooking-which is nothing but a form of external pre digestion.

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