Meat grown in laboratories will soon be available for vegetarians. It is possible to produce processed meats such as burgers and sausages, from the cells taken from cow, chicken, pig, fish or other animals. Growing meat without the animal would not only reduce the need for the animals, which often are kept in less than ideal conditions but also reduces the spread of disease from infected animals. Cultured meat could also be tailored to be healthier than farm raised meat, while satisfying the increasing demand for protein.
Techniques for engineering muscle cells and other tissues were first developed for medical use, and now a small handful of researchers are looking into growing edible muscle cells, said Jason Matheny, University of Maryland.
Industrializing the process could involve growing muscle cells on large shets or beads suspended in a growth medium. The sheet would have to be stretched or the beads would have to be expandable, to stretch the cells for the cells to develop. Once the cells have grown enough, they could be scraped off and packaged. If edible sheets or beads are used, all of it could be eaten.
"The technology to produce something like a streak or chicken breast is still quite a way off, there's a lot of technological challenge to producing something that has a structure to it."