Here’s Why You Will Want to Eat Lab Grown Food
To many, the idea of growing food in a lab sounds distasteful. Fears such as the food won’t taste the same or is unsafe permeate this bias.
George Monbiot witnessed the creation of flour through a porthole in a metal tank. He could see a yellow froth churning. It’s a mixture of bacteria, taken from the soil and multiplied in the laboratory, using hydrogen extracted from water as its energy source. This froth was siphoned through a several pipes and deposited on to heated rollers, turning into yellow flour.
From there the flour was mixed with milk and a pancake was created. When he ate it, low and behold it tasted like an ordinary pancake. Imagine, instead of growing crops which are processed and turned into flour one just mixes bacteria, water, and hydrogen to create flour in a lab. The lab grown flour is about 10x more efficient than growing flour in a field in a farm.
The lab grown flour can then be used in making all sorts of food products from pasta to potato chips. Modifying the bacteria will enable the creation of proteins used in meat, milk, and eggs. Lauric acid can be created replacing the need for palm oil.
All of these lab grown foods will be more efficient to make in the lab than they will be grown on farms which will bring the price down, making these foods more affordable.
Fruits will also be grown in labs as using the stem cells from the meristem in the plant shoot tip will be multiplied in lab dishes. When a plant has pollinated there are specific compounds produced in the plant that causes the fruit to start growing. Instead of pollination, it is possible to directly apply these compounds and induce the fruit step. This allows fruit to be grown by feeding the plant the compounds it needs to make fruit all the while not even applying light to the plant. This is a huge win over traditional hydroponics as the lighting they use has extremely high electricity demands.
One major change will be the ability to end factory farming where animals are crammed into tiny cages, pumped full of hormones and food. Many consider these farming practices to be unethical. With lab grown chicken and other meats like beef and pork we will no longer need to kill animals to eat meats.
Vegetarians and vegans who refuse to eat meat because it exploits animals will now be able to eat meat if they so choose because the ethical quandary of factory farming will be gone.
Furthermore, as countries industrialize they consume more and more meat. Traditional farming methods to provide that meat have led to the cutting down of the rain forest. With lab grown meat that will not be necessary.
Water to feed crops and animals is projected to increase 20% by 2050 due to growing populations and increased demands for meat. With lab grown foods water usage is far more efficient than standard farming practices.
The biggest obstacle to the use of lab grown foods will probably be lack of consumer demand. Many people will be reluctant to eat lab grown food out of fear, however unfounded, that it is unsafe. Over time though, thanks to lower prices and less pollution adoption of lab grown food will increase until the point that traditionally grown food will seem quaint, a practice from a bygone era.
So here’s to lab grown food, I can’t wait!