Would You Eat a 3-D Burger?


We’ve seen 3-D printed organs for medical purposes, 3-D buildings for living purposes, so why not     3-D burgers for eating purposes?

In the future, your beef may come from a printer, not a cow.

In the future, your beef may come from a printer, not a cow.

A U.S Company, Modern Meadow is just trailing that.

According to their website, these days numerous problems are arising with meat production: the greenhouse gases created by livestock, the land and resources required, the wastage in meat production and the increasing population. Modern Meadow predicts that by 2050, 70% more meat will be required to feed the world.

To address these issues, the company is using a process called bio-printing to experiment with lab-created meat.

How Bio-printing Works

Bioink containing various types of cell is printed into moulds made from agarose gel

Bioink containing various types of cell is printed into moulds made from agarose gel

After several days the bioink fuses and the agarose support is removed. The tissue is put into a bioreactor and given low frequency stimulation to mature the muscle fibres.

After several days the bioink fuses and the agarose support is removed. The tissue is put into a bioreactor and given low-frequency stimulation to mature the muscle fibres.

The principle has been around for more than a decade, and is already used successfully to create jewellery, toys, furniture, cars, and even – most recently – parts of a gun. Some researchers have also managed to print food like chocolate. But Prof Gabor Forgacs, of the University of Missouri, says bioprinting something that is part of a living creature is much more challenging than making an earring or a chocolate bar. “We are printing live material – [the] cells are alive when we are printing them,” he says.

“Three-dimensional printing has taken off big time, and printing things such as whipped cream is just another application of it – but it’s no big deal. “Printing biomaterial is an entirely different ball game.”

Prof Forgacs says that he and his team have already managed to produce a prototype, but it is not yet suitable for consumption.

At the moment, it’s a pretty expensive process — but one that Modern Meadow hopes will revolutionise food production in the years ahead. According to its website, the benefits of bio-engineering meat include:

  • 99 per cent less land required
  • 96 per cent less water consumed
  • 96 per cent fewer greenhouse gases emitted
  • 45 per cent less energy needed
  • No risk of livestock diseases
  • No animals harmed.

So in the future, more cows may be able to roam the fields without having to fear the slaughterhouse. Sounds much more animal and environmentally friendly.

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