Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates Also Investing in Artificial Meat
August 7, 2013 11:34 AM
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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