Lab-grown hamburgers could save planet: experts

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    Nov 12, 2011 12:26 AM GMT
    I'm surprised the article doesn't mention the $1M PETA prize for the development of indistinguishable chicken meat - http://www.peta.org/features/In-Vitro-Meat-Contest.aspx. Of course, not really sure why they chose chicken given that cows produce a ridiculous amount of methane - do birds produce even more?

    http://news.nationalpost.com/2011/11/11/lab-grown-hamburgers-could-save-planet-experts/

    The first lab-grown hamburger will cost around 250,000 euros ($345,000) to produce, according to Mark Post, a vascular biologist at the University of Maastricht in the Netherlands, who hopes to unveil such a delicacy soon.

    Experts say the meat’s potential for saving animals’ lives, land, water, energy and the planet itself could be enormous.

    “The first one will be a proof of concept, just to show it’s possible,” Post told Reuters in a telephone interview from his Maastricht lab. “I believe I can do this in the coming year.”

    It may sound and look like some kind of imitation, but in-vitro or cultured meat is a real animal flesh product, just one that has never been part of a complete, living animal — quite different from imitation meat or meat substitutes aimed at vegetarians and made from vegetable proteins like soy.
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    Nov 12, 2011 12:41 AM GMT
    I want to eat the first burger, just to say I ate a $345K burger.
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    Nov 12, 2011 1:27 AM GMT
    riddler78 said Of course, not really sure why they chose chicken given that cows produce a ridiculous amount of methane - do birds produce even more?



    It may have something to do with the fact that current industrial farming methods for poultry are pretty resource intensive compared to beef ranching, which is still largely done on pasture for much of the animal's life. (There are exceptions, especially for dairy animals and veal calves.)

    There's a certain niftyness about this idea, but there are many questions one might ask about the final product. For instance, where does its flavor come from? How does one end up with the difference between say, a steak, a drumstick, and bacon? What are the safety issues in an an environment full of protein and sugars (hello, bacteria!).
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    Nov 12, 2011 1:47 AM GMT
    interesting....kinda creepy.....
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    Nov 12, 2011 1:49 AM GMT
    One big problem with today's cell culture techniques is that we still use blood serum from animals. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fetal_bovine_serum

    That's all the plasma and proteins from filtered animal blood. Most cell lines just won't grow right without it, and it's difficult to replicate given all the complex proteins and nutrients in the serum.

    So really, PETA isn't saving any animals. They still need to use blood serum from living animals to grow these cells. icon_rolleyes.gif

    It's also pretty expensive too, around 300-500 bucks per liter.


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    Nov 12, 2011 2:30 AM GMT
    Cows walk around all day gathering energy from
    the sun from the plants they eat for free. PETA people will lie about everything to further their cause. You will never produce high quality protein cheaper than a cow doing it for free.
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    Nov 12, 2011 3:42 AM GMT
    Several years ago, I read an article by futurist Ray Kurzweil about how artificial meat would one day be grown in huge slabs and then sliced and sold commercially. So many of his predictions have come true, I'm not surprised by this in the least. According to him, we also have immortality and computer enhanced intelligence to look forward to.
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    Nov 12, 2011 3:48 AM GMT
    abm1985 saidSeveral years ago, I read an article by futurist Ray Kurzweil about how artificial meat would one day be grown in huge slabs and then sliced and sold commercially. So many of his predictions have come true, I'm not surprised by this in the least. According to him, we also have immortality and computer enhanced intelligence to look forward to.
    Computer enhanced intelligence is getting very close. Immortality can not exist because the sun will destroy the earth in a few billion years...and everything that lives on it.
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    Nov 12, 2011 4:04 AM GMT
    paulflexes said
    abm1985 saidSeveral years ago, I read an article by futurist Ray Kurzweil about how artificial meat would one day be grown in huge slabs and then sliced and sold commercially. So many of his predictions have come true, I'm not surprised by this in the least. According to him, we also have immortality and computer enhanced intelligence to look forward to.
    Computer enhanced intelligence is getting very close. Immortality can not exist because the sun will destroy the earth in a few billion years...and everything that lives on it.


    But not if we leave earth and colonize the rest of the universe icon_smile.gif You are talking my language now... I'm such a sci-fi nerd.
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    Nov 12, 2011 6:17 AM GMT
    abm1985 saidSeveral years ago, I read an article by futurist Ray Kurzweil about how artificial meat would one day be grown in huge slabs and then sliced and sold commercially. So many of his predictions have come true, I'm not surprised by this in the least. According to him, we also have immortality and computer enhanced intelligence to look forward to.


    The concept of immortality reminds me of this traumatically depressing movie (adapted from a novel of the same name) Never Let Me Go. Sure, it would be nice to live in a world where people don't have to go through the pain of illnesses and, worse, losing their loved ones, but the means of achieving it could potentially be terrifying.

  • calibro

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    Nov 12, 2011 7:04 AM GMT
    Alpha13 saidCows walk around all day gathering energy from
    the sun from the plants they eat for free. PETA people will lie about everything to further their cause. You will never produce high quality protein cheaper than a cow doing it for free.


    A cow isn't free by any means. Only ten percent of energy is retained between trophic levels. Which means the grass only keeps 10 percent of the sun's energy so the cow itself only consumes 1 percent of the original amount (part of the reason cows eat so much). Keep in mind a cow needs around 4 acres to be raised (not in terms of space, but in resources). The energy that goes into sustaining one cow is completely unequal to the same amount of food that could be generated with the same 4 acres if used for a crop. Keep in mind cows are responsible for a significant amount of the release of methane in this world, which contributes to the fact that agriculture takes up 30 percent percent of the Earth's surface and is responsible for 14 percent of greenhouse gas contributions. The fact is further exacerbated by the issue that deforestation is directly related to raising cattle, particularly in delicate carbon sinks like the amazon. So when you consider the amount of water, space, energy (I didn't even talk about the shipping), and externality costs, it's now even remotely free.
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    Nov 12, 2011 7:06 AM GMT
    NASA originally came up with the idea of lab grown meat, for astronauts in space.
  • kew1

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    Nov 12, 2011 11:48 AM GMT
    Stan904 saidNASA originally came up with the idea of lab grown meat, for astronauts in space.


    Heinlein sort of used the idea in Methuselah's Children (1959) (or 1941 in a magazine, without reading the 1941 version I don't know if it's there). Lab grown flesh, used as a research project but not eaten.

    Pohl & Kornbluth used it in The Space Merchants (1953). Chicken grown in a vat.

    Churchill mentioned the idea in 1932.

    I suspect the idea is even older.

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    Nov 12, 2011 12:49 PM GMT
    better than the alternative...

    116m3pj.jpg
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    Nov 12, 2011 1:37 PM GMT
    abm1985 said
    paulflexes said
    abm1985 saidSeveral years ago, I read an article by futurist Ray Kurzweil about how artificial meat would one day be grown in huge slabs and then sliced and sold commercially. So many of his predictions have come true, I'm not surprised by this in the least. According to him, we also have immortality and computer enhanced intelligence to look forward to.
    Computer enhanced intelligence is getting very close. Immortality can not exist because the sun will destroy the earth in a few billion years...and everything that lives on it.


    But not if we leave earth and colonize the rest of the universe icon_smile.gif You are talking my language now... I'm such a sci-fi nerd.


    No, even that won't save us since the universe will either implode or disperse to vacume.
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    Nov 12, 2011 7:35 PM GMT
    swimguychicago said
    abm1985 said
    paulflexes said
    abm1985 saidSeveral years ago, I read an article by futurist Ray Kurzweil about how artificial meat would one day be grown in huge slabs and then sliced and sold commercially. So many of his predictions have come true, I'm not surprised by this in the least. According to him, we also have immortality and computer enhanced intelligence to look forward to.
    Computer enhanced intelligence is getting very close. Immortality can not exist because the sun will destroy the earth in a few billion years...and everything that lives on it.


    But not if we leave earth and colonize the rest of the universe icon_smile.gif You are talking my language now... I'm such a sci-fi nerd.


    No, even that won't save us since the universe will either implode or disperse to vacume.


    It's only theoretical that the universe will disperse. There's pretty much already a consensus that it's not going to implode. But anyway, by then we'll be a race of super-intelligent beings and will have probably have figured out how the big bang originated so we'll just create a new universe. Or we'll skip to another universe within the mulitverse. It would be interesting to see how life will change when all the stars start going dark. But that's all far off topic...

    My only concern about this genetically engineered meat is that we don't really know the side effects of consuming genetically altered foods. We may end up inadvertently creating a whole variety of new genetic diseases by doing this.
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    Nov 12, 2011 8:06 PM GMT
    I wonder if it will taste like chicken...
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    Nov 12, 2011 8:07 PM GMT
    VioletHill saidbetter than the alternative...

    116m3pj.jpg


    Too funny....talk about classic movie ahead of it's time.