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posted by Fnord666 on Saturday February 18 2017, @05:23AM   Printer-friendly
from the the-other-white-meat dept.

Scientists from the University of Missouri, the University of Maryland and the Animal Bioscience and Biotechnology Laboratory, US Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service have published an article in Nature outlining a method for "generating skeletal muscle efficiently from porcine induced pluripotent stem cells (piPSC) in vitro thereby providing a versatile platform for applications ranging from regenerative biology to the ex vivo cultivation of meat". The research used a porcine stem cell line to generate muscular tissue instead of cells taken directly from a pig:

"What the paper describes is research designed to generate muscle from a newly established pig stem-cell line, rather that from primary cells taken directly from a pig," co-author Dr. Nicholas Genovese, a stem-cell biologist (and vegetarian), told Digital Trends. "This entailed understanding the biology of relatively uncharacterized and recently-derived porcine induced pluripotent stem cell lines. What conditions support cell growth, survival and differentiation? These are all questions I had to figure out in the lab before the cells could be turned into muscle."

Also at GlobalMeatNews.

Enhanced Development of Skeletal Myotubes from Porcine Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells (open, DOI: 10.1038/srep41833) (DX)

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  • (Score: 2) by takyon on Saturday February 18 2017, @04:19PM

    by takyon (881) <{takyon} {at} {}> on Saturday February 18 2017, @04:19PM (#468613) Journal

    There is an increasing demand for chicken, beef, pork, etc. as hundreds of millions more people enter the middle class around the world. They are demanding it and getting it. Now you have a technology that could deliver better tasting quality meat (or worse, but I already explained how it can be better) while using 1-2 orders of magnitude less water, energy, and land.

    There is a place for mushrooms, insects, Heme/impossible meat, etc. That place is probably space. Here on Earth, we still have enough resources for the moment to satisfy the growing demand for meat. But if we could do it with just a fraction of the environmental impact and at a lower cost palatable to industry, that would be preferred.

    And I bet taste much better than the artificial pork

    And I bet that scientists will put out a lab-grown pork that tastes better than some pork products out on the market today which are eaten by millions. You say people should switch to mushrooms. Others are even trying to grow their own mealworms. But people are still eating millions of pounds of questionable Taco Bell meat, pink slime burgers, bodily horror chicken nuggets, mystery sausage, and fish sticks in their mouth. Every day. Replacing those items with lab grown alternatives could have significant benefits.

    If you are going to be eating mushrooms and a vegan diet, there is no downside in others replacing livestock with lab grown meat, because you won't be eating it anyway. Right?

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  • (Score: 2) by butthurt on Sunday February 19 2017, @04:49AM

    by butthurt (6141) on Sunday February 19 2017, @04:49AM (#468858) Journal

    > [...] using 1-2 orders of magnitude less water, energy, and land [...]

    According to one estimate, a pig can gain 1 kg of weight by eating 4 kg of grain:

    The efficiency with which various animals convert grain into protein varies widely. With cattle in feedlots, it takes roughly 7 kilograms of grain to produce a 1-kilogram gain in live weight. For pork, the figure is close to 4 kilograms of grain per kilogram of weight gain, for poultry it is just over 2, and for herbivorous species of farmed fish (such as carp, tilapia, and catfish), it is less than 2. As the market shifts production to the more grain-efficient products, it raises the productivity of both land and water.

    -- []

    I apprehend that with a tissue culture there will be no unused organs--all the flesh grown will be consumable. However I doubt there is a possibility for tenfold greater efficiency, let alone 100-fold.

    A Forbes columnist had a response to the estimates I quoted above. Instead of harvesting crops to feed to animals, he advocates having livestock graze:

    Around where I live in Portugal pigs forage for acorns (yes, from the same oak trees that give us cork) or are fed on swill, goats and sheep graze on fields that would support no form of arable farming at all (they can just about, sometimes, support low levels of almond, olive or carob growing). Much beef cattle in the UK is grass fed with perhaps hay or silage in the winters.

    -- []

    These tissue cultures will need a culture medium; without the benefit of a digestive system, they will not be able to consume cellulosic material. Whatever is fed to them could instead nourish people directly (although, like an elemental diet in a hospital it may not be palatable). My default assumption is that the medium would be prepared from soybeans or maize, which can be made into eaten directly by people. []

    Mushrooms, in contrast, can be grown in sawdust or manure.

  • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Sunday February 19 2017, @05:47AM

    by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Sunday February 19 2017, @05:47AM (#468869) Journal

    If you are going to be eating mushrooms and a vegan diet, there is no downside in others replacing livestock with lab grown meat, because you won't be eating it anyway. Right?

    Almost. Everything is right except a vegan diet.
    (well, you see, I could get nobody to agree with me that pork is a damn tasty vegetable)

    Yes, I won't touch chicken nuggets and the like.