Two years have passed since professor Mark Post announced the arrival of the first in vitro hamburger. Soon, we might be getting a taste of the first lab-grown chicken meat. A bioengineer at Tel Aviv University, Professor Amit Gefen, began a feasibility study funded by a non-profit group called Modern Agriculture Foundation.
The task is much more complex compared to the $300,000 beef burger cooked at Maastricht University, in the Netherlands. Unlike the five-year-long, Google funded project, Gefen aims to grow chicken meat from a single cell.
Dutch researcher and entrepreneur, Willem van Eelen, has died in Amsterdam on the 24th of February 2015. Van Eelen was born in 1923, the son of a doctor, and a child of colonial privilege. After suffering starvation in a Japanese P.O.W. camp during the second World War, Van Eelen imagined growing meat in the laboratory, late 1940. The idea came to him while attending a scientific lecture on how to preserve meat as a psychology student at the University of Amsterdam.
For more than half a century, Van Eelen relentlessly researched and promoted In Vitro Meat, also known as victimless meat, cultured meat, tubesteak, frankenmeat, shmeat, and test-tube meat. Admitted, he was not the first to envision the idea of growing meat – or muscle tissue – outside of the animal, yet his lasting effort to turn the vision into a reality earned him the title The Godfather of In Vitro Meat.
Unhealthy diets are now a greater threat to global health than tobacco. Just as the world came together to regulate the risk of tobacco, a bold framework convention on adequate diet must now be agreed.
Here is an article from the opening address of the sixtieth session of The World Health Organization’s Assembly, Geneva, Switzerland, about the future position of junk food.
Throughout the lands of the Persian Gulf, desertification is a fact of life. As a result, the countries of this region import 90 percent of their food supply. A new technology developed by visionary researchers at the Waseda University, in Japan, might have found the solution to this problem. A special absorbent film that require no soil may be able to grow plants more efficiently than soil farming.
The research team, lead by Professor Yuichi Mori, has developed a hydrogel film that can hold 1,000 times of its weight in water. The scientists are already testing these films in 180 film farms.
Humans have mastered agriculture for the last 10.000 years, during which different climates, cultures, and technologies have driven and defined farming development. Nevertheless, a summer storm, voracious pests or a bad drought can still ruin the harvest and destroy months of hard work. But not anymore, according to Japanese plant physiologist Shigeharu Shimamura, who transfered intensive agriculture under the roof.
Ever wished to eat anything you want without worrying about calories or allergies? It could be possible thanks to augmented reality experiments.
Created by designer Jinsoo An, Project Nourished is a gastronomic virtual reality experience that uses Oculus Rift headsets, cutlery with sensors, low-calorie foods and aromatic diffusers to mimic the taste of the real, and much more caloric, thing.
The next guest in our interview series is Chloé Rutzerveld, young talented and promising Food and Concept designer, from Eindhoven University of Technology. Chloé is interested in combining aspects of food, design, nature, culture and life sciences in a form of critical design. She uses food as a medium to address, communicate and discuss social, cultural or scientific issues.
Throughout 2014, Chloé worked on a 3D food printing project, titled Edible Growth, to show how high-tech or lab-produced food doesn’t have to be unhealthy, unnatural or not tasteful. Her concept is an example of a future food product fully natural, healthy, and sustainable.
The working principle combines aspects of nature, science, technology and design: multiple layers containing seeds, spores and yeast are printed according to a personalized 3D file. Within five days the plants and fungi mature and the yeast ferments the solid inside into a liquid. Depending on the preferred intensity, the consumer decides when to harvest and eat the edible. While the project is still speculative due to technological limits, the concept is very intriguing.
We recently talked with Chloé about people’s response to Edible Growth, the profession of food designer and new preparation methods and products that could be on our plate one day. Here’s what she had to say:
Imagine London 2025. The first in vitro carnery ‘Counter Culture’ opens its doors. The restored 1970s-era English brewpub boasts an expansive bar of reclaimed mahogany and booths upholstered with magnificent in vitro leather. Steaks are grown to precision inside giant steel vats, decorated (functionally) with illuminated green algae tanks. A disorienting mingling of global spices flavor varieties of exotic and heritage meats like boar and Berkshire, all of which are cultured on site. The large charcuterie board, consisting of mushroom-media duck foie gras, coriander mortadella and crispy lobes of sweetbread pairs perfectly with a shortlist of probiotic cocktails (try the rum and kombucha).
In vitro meat has the capacity to transform meat production as we know it, not only offering new and diverse types of product but also introducing an entirely new way of thinking about and interacting with food. One day, growing meat may seem as natural as making cheese or beer.
By ISHA DATAR and ROBERT BOLTON – From The In Vitro Meat Cookbook
Perhaps the most uplifting promise of in vitro meat is that it will be good for animals. Animal cells are needed to make it, but only in small amounts, and if algae can be used to feed these cells, no animals need to suffer for this meat. In 2008, the animal rights organization PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) offered one million dollars to whoever could develop marketable in vitro chicken by 2012 (1).As that deadline proved to be too tight, PETA used the money to subsidize in vitro meat research. Many other people, too, welcome in vitro meat primarily because of what it may mean for animals. Even though they often find the idea strange and perhaps even a bit uncanny, the promise for animals is widely felt as a source of hope.
By COR VAN DER WEELE and CLEMENS DRIESSEN – From The In Vitro Meat Cookbook