In Vitro Meat
The PETA organization (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) has announced that they are willing to offer a $1 Million dollar reward for the first scientist or group that can produce in vitro meat. The term in vitro generally refers to a scientific technique/procedure that takes place in a controlled environment outside of a living organism. Specifically, in vitro meat refers to actual animal meat, that has never been part of a living animal. Instead, stem cells are taken and grown in culture to become viable meat comparable to that of the real thing, real animal meat. As obviously this type of procedure would spare the lives of countless animals on a daily basis that are raised and slaughtered for feeding purposes, PETA sees great potential and promise with in vitro meat.
The idea and first tests of in vitro meat were originated by NASA in attempt to find better methods of food production for astronauts for long trips into space. In regards to purity and health of in vitro meat, the issue can be looked from a number of different view points. With meat that can be genetically engineered, in vitro meat provides a meat that is free from growth hormones, and chemicals used in common agriculture practice. It is thought to be "cleaner" and less prone to disease than with real meat. Omega-6 fatty acids are common in real meat, however, in in vitro meat, the omega-6 fatty acids could be replaced with omega-3 fatty acids. This provides a much healthier alternative. To contrast this, it is still meat that is genetically engineered, and extremely new to scientific practice, thereby not yet proven as a replicated scientific procedure as of yet. It is common thought that when this procedure for making in vitro meat is finally reliable, it will become a much cheaper economical way of producing meat as it can all be done in lab, and money is not needed to allocate for the raising and feeding of animals for food production.
The embryonic stem cells used to start this process will be specialized cells from animal tissue, developed and grown in a growth mediums enriched with nutrients with use of a bioreactor (as shown by the picture above).
In vitro meat will not taste, smell, look-like, or have the appearance of real meat, however, with as much work that is being done to make in vitro meat, the same amount of effort is being made to make the in vitro meat more similar, and one day hopefully unrecognizable to that of real meat.
Statistically, with the world population growing rapidly, an increase in the need of meat is undoubtedly great. And with in vitro meat, this problem could theoretically be solved with a single cell.
With promising prospects such as those just mentioned, a possible cure to the world's hunger problems at hand, and a cool $1 million dollars promised from PETA, it can be predicted that in vitro meat will soon be a reality in the very near future.