Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates Also Investing in Artificial Meat
August 7, 2013 11:34 AM
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He wants to use plant-based agriculture
Lab-grown meat may not sound as appealing as the real thing, but tech giants like
Google's Sergey Brin
have done it in an effort to find viable ways of feeding the world's population, and Microsoft is looking to do something similar.
According to a new report from
The Washington Post
, Microsoft co-founder and chairman Bill Gates wants to back plant-based animal product replacements. The idea is to use plant-based agriculture, which uses fewer resources than the production of meat.
Gates has already kick started this idea by investing in Hampton Farms, which is a food startup that makes plant protein-based substitutes for eggs.
The reason Gates wants to make plant-based versions of meat is because raising livestock traditionally has a vast impact on the environment. Beef farming has been criticized for increasing methane emissions, since cows are ruminants fermenting food during digestion and producing carbon gases as a waste byproduct. In fact, five percent of
carbon dioxide emissions and forty percent of methane emissions
come from beef farming.
Traditional farming also requires a lot of land and water, and with the human population constantly growing; the traditional way just won't feed 9 billion people. Hence, lab-grown meat will serve as a substitute for the real deal.
Google co-founder Sergey Brin has already made a $332,000 investment in lab-grown meat, which has been developed and tested. The end result was a hamburger with 20,000 muscle fibers cultured from the stem cells of living cows. The big issue is that the stem cells need fetal bovine serum in order to complete the process, and the serum costs $250 per liter -- requiring as many as three cow fetuses for the liter.
Those who've tried the artificial meat have described it as close to the real thing and "cake-like."
The project was led by researchers at the
, The Netherland's biggest international college.
"When you see how these cows are treated, it's certainly something I'm not comfortable with," said Brin. "[While the synthetic alternative] is really just proof of concept right now, we're trying to create the first cultured beef hamburger. From there I'm optimistic that we can really scale by leaps and bounds."
The Washington Post
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RE: Sounds great to me
8/7/2013 10:23:38 PM
Actually there are still plenty of unused lands all over the world. But still, the food price has been skyrocketing and economist is blaming there is not enough food output to meet rising demand as the cause. And those unused lands with nothing but grass or wild jungle? They might be serving some ecological functions for wild life. In my view it is always best to start and plan early instead of ignoring the population issue until there is riots in the street. But as others have noticed, the population growth in most of the first world country is actually close to zero at the moment, high population growth actually comes from poorer countries and there are political barrier to solve issue such as this. But still, how would meat farming a good answer to this problem? Trying to make artificial food seems to be trying to address the root cause in the wrong way. Artificial food is a good solution to space exploration problem, not really about population growth.
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