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Biotech Factories to Farm Fake Meat

21/05/2014 by


The movement to sell locally sourced, artisanal food and drink has picked up steam in recent years as many consumers demand better quality products with a smaller environmental footprint and traceable pedigree. But some Dutch researchers are taking this idea a step further, proposing the creation of village-level “meat factories” that would produce unique flavors of artificial beef, pork or chicken, all from a biotech reactor.

The study builds upon work done last year, the so-called “test-tube hamburger” that was created by researchers at the University of Maastrict in the Netherlands and unveiled at a tasting in London.

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This latest study by a pair of researchers at Wagenigen University proposes a device that can create meat cells in a metal container – enough to feed a small amount of “cultured beef” each month to a village of 2,650 people.

“We thought it was interesting and most promising to do cultured meat on a small scale,” said Cor van der Weele, professor of philosophy who wrote the paper with biotechnology professor Johannes Tamper in the journal Trends in Biotechnology. “A small scale is also good from a biotechnology point of view.”

Van der Weele said she was inspired to come up with this alternative to meat because of her concerns over animal welfare, as well as the environmental impact of land used to grow beef cattle.

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