Sunday, December 29, 2013

Synthetic Burgers: The Fast Food Industry’s Wave Of The Future?

It may be as costly as a typical high end street legal sports car to produce at the moment but will synthetic burgers become the fast food industry’s “wave of the future”?

By: Ringo Bones

During the past year a Dutch scientist, Professor Mark Post of Maastricht University, had successfully created a test tube meat – i.e. laboratory grown meat – that could potentially be produced with a far smaller carbon footprint than the way we currently produce today by farming livestock. Thanks to a 300,000 US dollar grant from the US government, we are now much closer to a practical lab grown meat that can be produced with far less water and plant based feed that today’s conventionally raised animal-based meat. Unfortunately at the moment, a steak-sized sample of Professor Post’s lab grown meat still costs as much as 300,000 US dollars to produce.

Professor Sean Smukler of the University of Columbia says traditionally grown meat fed with farmed soybean will become more expensive in the immediate future due to rising demand from the world’s newly emerging economies like India and The People’s Republic of China. At present, more than a billion of the world’s inhabitants still lack a secure and steady supply of affordable dietary protein adequate enough for their daily requirements.

But food security expert Professor Tim Lang has doubts whether test tube burgers and other laboratory grown meats using current stem-cell technology can provide nourishment for our over a billion starving poor, never mind become an economically viable alternative of conventionally produced mean from animal livestock by the year 2050. Other methods of laboratory grown meat had recently sprang up all over the world’s leading biological research laboratories but a strip of muscle grown from cow stem cells currently still costs a little over 300,000 US dollars to produce – hopefully the economies of scale in the future and a prospect of a more environmentally sustainable way to produce edible protein had been the primary driving force for the race of producing the first ever economically viable test tube burger and the first to become the “fast food industry’s wave of the future”. 

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