Test Tube Meatballs to Adorn Pastas Everywhere
The animal-free meat could be on shelves in three to four years.
Don't make that face. If we can fertilize a human egg in a Petri dish, surely we can grow a meatball in a lab.
That's what the founders of San Francisco-based Memphis Meats propose. They say their meat, which is grown from animals cells, tastes like the real deal, is more environmentally friendly than farming and could be for sale in three to four years.
"This is absolutely the future of meat," Memphis Meats CEO Uma Valeti said in a press release.
Meat production of the present is riddled with negativity. According to the United Nations, one-third of the world's grains and about a quarter of all land is used to raise animals for food.
What's more, factory farms are a scourge on the planet, destroying the environment through deforestation, pollution and gases, as well as introducing all kinds of health risks into society, such as diseases and strains of antibiotic-resistant pathogens - not to mention the horrible conditions cows, pigs and chickens are subjected to before slaughter.
And listen, the world's population is growing exponentially. More than 7 billion people live on the planet today and by 2050, that number is expected to exceed 10 billion. How do you feed the masses?
Bioreactor tanks, that's how. To grow meat, cow and pig cells that naturally have the ability to regenerate are isolated from other cells and then put in a bioreactor along with oxygen and nutrients such as sugar and minerals.
In about nine to 21 days, the cells develop into muscle tissue that can be harvested, seasoned and cooked.
No animals are slaughtered in the process.
The first products to hit supermarkets will likely be hot dogs, sausages, burgers and meatballs, said Valeti.
"We plan to do to the meat industry what the car did to the horse and buggy," Valeti said. "Cultured meat will completely replace the status quo and make raising animals to eat them simply unthinkable."
Ink seems so retro now that machines can custom-print myriad 3-D objects, including snacks. Here are some of the most impressive edibles to emerge from 3-D printers so far.
is at the forefront of 3-D printed food. The lab’s Fab@Home project led by PhD candidate Jeffrey Ian Lipton uses solid freeform fabrication to print interesting snacks. Lab researchers worked with the French Culinary Institute to print this space shuttle from cheese.
Printing with chocolate is a no-brainer given its consistency but what used to be a novelty has started going mainstream. Chocolate companies are using 3-D printing tech in new ways, like this
printed for Nestlé and Android KitKat’s
Using food like ink can be much trickier than generating a mold from 3-D tech. Several years ago
and his team at
custom-built a 3-D fabricator that fused sugar together into sculptures. More recently 3D Systems released the ChefJet printer to produce confections and cake-toppers.
One day the pizza question could be, Fresh, frozen or printed? The Barcelona-based startup Natural Machines printed fresh pizzas using a 3-D machine prototype called Foodini in 2013. At the same time, NASA gave a grant to the Systems and Materials Research Corporation in Austin to develop pizza-printing capabilities for space.
The crew at Cornell University’s Creative Machines Lab did print thick cookies containing the letter C but German designer
produced fewer crumbs. He collaborated with a professor at the University of Applied Sciences Coburg to print
from red and green colored dough.
Printed meat doesn’t sound all that appetizing but that hasn’t stopped anyone from trying. The startup
is working on developing humane, bioprinted meat while
used their Foodini to create real swirled hamburgers -- as well as the buns and cheese to go on top.
These chips might look like ramen noodles but researchers at the Cornell Creative Machines Lab printed them from corn dough. The flower shape allowed for even frying, Fast Company reported. If you want pasta, Natural Machines says its Foodini printer can serve up gnocchi and ravioli.
The Dutch consultancy T
envisions using 3-D printing to address world hunger, although some might squirm at their proposals. Their food printer can generate nutrient-rich snacks from alternative ingredients like algae and even mealworms.
If telling kids to eat broccoli because it’s “little trees” doesn’t work, perhaps Natural Machines’ 3-D printed
will. To tempt picky young eaters, the Spanish startup produced vegetable snacks in the shape of butterflies and dinosaurs using their Foodini printer.