Artificial meat: The key to fighting climate change



If the culture process is not strictly controlled, the artificial meat can be contaminated with endocrine disruptors and other toxic substances before being marketed.

 Numerous scientific studies show that people in rich countries eat more meat than is recommended for their health or the environment.  Research has also shown that cutting back on meat consumption is a key factor in the fight against climate change.

1. Low carbon agriculture model

 In a recent interview with the MIT Technology Review, billionaire Bill Gates advised "all rich countries should switch to 100% synthetic beef" to reduce pollution.  According to the Environmental Protection Fund (USA), cows emit methane which is 84 times more likely warm the atmosphere 84 times that of CO2.

 "You may get used to the difference in taste. Moreover, the synthetic meat companies have also stated that they will make their products taste more attractive over time" - Microsoft co-founder affirmed, also said he would fly less and eat more synthetic meat to fight climate change.

 Synthetic biology is a whole new field where technological breakthroughs allow scientists to "program" the living organism, including reconfiguring an organism's DNA to create a complete brand new product. This technology is being used by Beyond Meat Company (USA) to create vegetarian burgers that taste more like real meat.  It was the first company to use DNA sequencing encoded from soybeans to create meat that looks and tastes like beef but is made from plants.

Artificial meat: The key to fighting climate change

Artificial meat: The key to fighting climate change / ph: Mosa Meat

Experts say that Beyond Meat Company and other artificial meat producers such as Eat Just, Memphis Meats (both American), Mosa Meat (Netherlands) and Aleph Farms (Israel) can be successful in the future because they are working on structured products like steak and already have large-scale production capacity.  Tyson and Cargill, the two largest traditional meat companies in the world, now have stakes in Memphis Meats.

 In a study published earlier this month, CE Delft (The Netherlands) confirmed that if artificial meat producers use renewable energy, greenhouse gas emissions could be reduced by up to 92% compared to that of the factory with traditional meat.  

"Artificial meat can help us to achieve a model of low-carbon agriculture at competitive prices, which plays an important role in moving towards a neutral carbon food system" - emphasized the senior researcher Ingrid Odegard of CE Delft company.

2. The culture process needs to be strictly controlled

In some cases, according to the researchers, artificial meat production can make environmental pollution worse.  Experts from Martin School Oxford Research Institute - University of Oxford (UK) have compared the long-term climate impact between artificial meat and conventional meat.  They claim previous studies tended to look at a variety of emissions from livestock and convert them all to their CO2 equivalent.  This does not give us a comprehensive view of climate change.

 "For each ton of emissions, methane has a much greater impact than CO2. However, methane only exists in the atmosphere for about 12 years while CO2 accumulates and exists for many millennia" - said Mr. Raymond Pierrehumbert, study co-author.  

According to John Lynch, another co-author, their climate research model found that in some cases and in the long term, artificial meat production could cause the earth to heat up faster.

 "The climatic impact of artificial meat production will depend on the ability to produce sustainable energy, as well as the efficiency of future cultivation process. If the production of meat in the lab requires relatively ample energy, it may have a more negative effect than the cow."- explained Mr. Lynch.

Animals have a natural immune system that helps to protect them from bacteria and infectious diseases.  In the case of artificial meat, in a nutrient-rich environment, bacteria multiply much faster than in animal cells.  In the pharmaceutical industry, cell culture is carried out in the "clean room", which is sterile and strictly controlled.  This helps to reduce the risk of contamination but produces plastic waste, which is at an alarming rate in ecosystems.

 Not to mention, some cell culture materials are made of stainless steel, need to be disinfected with steam or detergent and these treatments also have a negative impact on the environment.

 In animals, muscle mass is slowly increased because muscle cells take time to multiply.  To shorten this process in the laboratory, it is necessary to continuously stimulate cell proliferation with growth factors, including anabolic sex hormones.  These hormones are present in humans and animals, as well as in common meat.  They stimulate protein synthesis in cells to help build muscle.  Therefore, it is not wrong that the meat industry describes them as "factors for natural growth".

 However, the abuse of this substance in the manufacturing process can cause negative effects, including on the health of consumers.

 In Europe, the use of growth hormones in agriculture has been banned since 1981. If culture is not strictly controlled, artificial meats may become contaminated with endocrine disruptors and other harmful substances before being marketed.

Artificial meat: The key to fighting climate change

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