Lab-grown meat

NickOttensNickOttens Community ManagerAmsterdam, NetherlandsPosts: 896 admin
This is from the BBC:
iPS cells could be used to synthesise lab-grown meat ... alleviating inhumane treatment of livestock and environmentally harmful side effects from farming, or to create endangered species products that satisfy market demand without killing wildlife.

I think when we talk about the future of farming, we need to take animal welfare into account. Taking them out of the equation for meat production would be a huge, and positive, change.

The question, of course, is if this is doable on a global scale and within the timeframe we're studying (by the year 2050)?


  • NickOttensNickOttens Community Manager Amsterdam, NetherlandsPosts: 896 admin
    Speaking of lab-grown meat, a study by John Lynch and Raymond Pierrehumbert of Oxford University (found via Vox) finds that, in the long run, it may accelerate climate change more than regular beef does.
    Under continuous high global consumption, cultured meat results in less warming than cattle initially, but this gap narrows in the long term and in some cases cattle production causes far less warming, as CH4 emissions do not accumulate, unlike CO2. We then model a decline in meat consumption to more sustainable levels following high consumption, and show that although cattle systems generally result in greater peak warming than cultured meat, the warming effect declines and stabilizes under the new emission rates of cattle systems, while the CO2 based warming from cultured meat persists and accumulates even under reduced consumption, again overtaking cattle production in some scenarios. We conclude that cultured meat is not prima facie climatically superior to cattle; its relative impact instead depends on the availability of decarbonized energy generation and the specific production systems that are realized.

    Click here to read the whole thing.
  • NickOttensNickOttens Community Manager Amsterdam, NetherlandsPosts: 896 admin
    @Dimogylus, @JohanJorgensen, @ksampson, what is your view on lab-grown meat? Will enough people eat it? Will it help solve some of the biggest challenges in food systems between now and 2050?
  • JohanJorgensenJohanJorgensen Posts: 1
    Ah, love this discussion! I think we need to realize that cultured meet will be part of a greater system - the modern equivalent of grass-fed planet care-taker cattle. If bio reactors (of course powered by solar) emit CO2, that will be fed into systems producing protein or bio fuel via bacterial processes. Transportation on lab-grown meat will be made in urban environments where it will be way more efficient. All-in-all I prefer plant-based alternatives myself, but lab-grown is clearly interesting for the environmental benefits. Let's remember, it's not only CO2 that livestock emit. Manure lakes is also a pressing issue as is the alternative usage of rain forests as carbon capture rather than as being cut down for cattle grazing grounds.
  • NickOttensNickOttens Community Manager Amsterdam, NetherlandsPosts: 896 admin
    @gmcevilly and @josephjjames, you might also have thoughts on this topic. Please, let us know what you think!
  • ErikaErika Posts: 2 ✭✭
    The study Nick posted is really interesting. I think these technologies are pretty new and they need more development. Also it is great thinking that we can engineer a whole system where CO2 is fed to another bioreactor that needs CO2 as raw material. On another topic, what if we grew other types of food in bioreactors such as insects, their protein content is higher and their metabolism more efficient. What are your thoughts on that?
  • lecoutrelecoutre Posts: 6 ✭✭
    Hi everybody,

    wer are running a Research Topic entitled Cultured Meat – Are We Getting it Right? in FRONTIERS in Nutrition. Submissions are still open and we'd be thrilled to have contributions from the Xprize community as well.

    The RT will be visible and the discussion couldn't be more timely.

    Looking forward, Johannes
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