A scientist at the Medical University of South Carolina has been working for the past 10 years to grow meat.
Vladimir Mironov, one of only a few scientists worldwide involved in bioengineering "cultured" meat, believes that the product could help solve future global food crises resulting from shrinking amounts of land available for growing meat the old-fashioned way.
He envisions football field-sized buildings filled with large bioreactors, or bioreactors the size of a coffee machine in grocery stores, to manufacture what he calls 'charlem'-'Charleston engineered meat.'
"It will be functional, natural, designed food. How do you want it to taste? You want a little bit of fat, you want pork, you want lamb? We design exactly what you want. We can design texture.
"I believe we can do it without genes. But there is no evidence that if you add genes the quality of food will somehow suffer. Genetically modified food is already normal practice and nobody dies," he said.
Mironov has taken myoblasts-embryonic cells that develop into muscle tissue-from turkey and bathed them in a nutrient bath of bovine serum on a scaffold made of chitosan (a common polymer found in nature) to grow animal skeletal muscle tissue.
Nicholas Genovese of the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals said, "There's a yuck factor when people find out meat is grown in a lab. They don't like to associate technology with food. But there are a lot of products that we eat today that are considered natural that are produced in a similar manner."
"There's yogurt, which is cultured yeast. You have wine production and beer production. These were not produced in laboratories. Society has accepted these products," he added.