Scientists claim to have developed a vegetable-based product which could satisfy both the taste buds and wallets of meat lovers.
The success could singlehandedly help satiate the world’s growing appetite for meat,a desire that is expected to double meat consumption by 2050,the researchers said.
Lead researcher Patrick Brown,a molecular biologist at the Stanford University,said the first such food capable of replicating the taste,texture and nutrition of meat and dairy products could be available in market by the end of this year.
“We have a class of products that totally rocks,and cannot be distinguished from the animal-based product it replaces,even by hardcore foodies,” Brown was quoted as
saying by LiveScience.
Brown began his work several years ago when he decided to focus the rest of his life upon solving the challenge of weaning the world off of animal farming.
Speaking at a meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Vancouver,he described such animal farming as an “inefficient technology millennia old” that also represents “by far the biggest environmental catastrophe”.
Less animal farming could reduce the risks of livestock diseases that spread to humans,slash the need for grazing land,and perhaps even help the world avoid food shortages by consuming crops directly rather than feeding them to animals.
“We can do more good by taking on the simple task of figuring out how to convert cheap,abundant sustainable plant materials into nutrient-dense,protein-rich foods that people deliberately choose to eat based on taste and value than by coming up with imagining sustainable,renewable energy sources or a car that can run for a thousand miles per gallon,” Brown said.
Other researchers in the past have also tried to tackle the problem by growing animal meat inside the lab a method based on medical stem cell tactics for growing replacement organs or human tissue.
But the costs remain very high,Mark Post,a physician on the board of Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands,said.
Post’s group hopes to grow several thousand bits of small,lab-grown meat and assemble them into a full hamburger.
But the physician also praised Brown’s approach of using vegetable-based material as perhaps the more cost-effective solution ¿ assuming that it replicates the taste and texture of meat and dairy.
“I think we agree on if there is a vegetable-derived product that can take away the craving of a human being for meat,then that would be preferable,” Post said. “If it can be done and I want to believe in Pat’s work then that’s going to be the way to go.”