Lab-made meat is already a reality: one day it will be the only one we’ll eat

A 100% artificial hamburger could save the planet from greenhouse gases. Lab-made meat is a reality: one day it will be the only one we'll eat.

The premise is that, for the moment, it doesn't look as appetizing as "real" meat. Not many people have tasted it, but those who have had the opportunity to chew a bite of 100% artificial hamburger have described it as "not unpleasant" or "tasty, but different." Lab-made meat, in short, doesn't garner the same rave reviews as fassona burgers, but there are other reasons to eat it. They have to do, first and foremost, with the enormous waste of resources and the climate change consequences of raising animals. So let's take both aspects into account: where do we stand on lab-made meat? Why is it important to have this environmentally sustainable means of livelihood available?

What is lab-grown meat and what is it used for

Clearly we talk about cell-cultured meat, because it is from stem cells grown in the lab that scientists obtain the muscle, fat and connective tissues we eat: once sufficiently grown, the stem cells become muscle cells or fat cells.

The positive spin-offs for the animals themselves are clear at this point, as they would no longer be slaughtered to feed humans if this new supply channel for burgers and perhaps ribs, sausages, etc. were perfected. The other point has to do with climate change: agriculture and livestock are responsible for 19% of all greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere. The flatulence and belching of cattle and other ruminants (sheep, goats, horses, camels, deer) contain methane, which causes 28 times more warming per molecule than CO2, which causes 265 times more warming.

As the Earth's population and per capita wealth grows, thus the ability to eat meat for populations currently on the edge of poverty, the problem of greenhouse gas emissions from the livestock sector will only get worse. And this is where laboratory meat comes in: if perfected - which, at the moment, it is not - it would not only use fewer resources (land and water) than the livestock sector, but it would also mean fewer greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

When will artificial meat arrive on our plates

At the moment, experiments involving the commercialization of synthetic meat are rather limited. In June, an Israeli company, Future Meat, announced plans to massively introduce lab-grown meat into the United States by 2022. Another company, Eat Just, is already marketing fully artificial "chicken" nuggets in Singapore. For some, these are advertising initiatives that won't spark a revolution. Nicholas Genovese, a stem cell biologist and pioneer in lab meat research, said, "Several companies have talked about limited initial launches in, or by ,2022. But it could be a few more years before there is widespread access and distribution."

To curb emissions in agriculture, some have thought of the green tractor. In the same direction they go the robots and the drones of the 2.0 farmers.

Giuseppe Giordano