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?
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
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.