Lab-grown meat would cut emissions: Study

June 20th, 2011 - 10:54 pm ICT by IANS  

London, June 20 (IANS) Meat grown artificially in labs would generate a tiny fraction of emissions associated with conventional livestock production, a study says.

Lab-grown meat will be a greener alternative for consumers who can’t bear to go vegetarian but want to cut the environmental impact of their food, the Guardian newspaper reported Monday quoting the study.

Researchers believe that their work suggests artificial meat could help to feed the growing world population while reducing the impact on the environment, the report said.

According to the study by scientists from Oxford University and Amsterdam University, lab-grown tissue would produce greenhouse gases at up to 96 percent lower levels than raising animals.

It would require between seven percent and 45 percent less energy than the same volume of conventionally produced meat such as pork, beef and lamb or mutton, the study said.

It could be engineered to use only one percent of the land and as little as four percent of the water associated with conventional meat.

“The environmental impacts of cultured meat could be substantially lower than those of meat produced in the conventional way,” the newspaper quoted Hanna Tuomisto, the researcher at Oxford University who led the study, as saying.

The Oxford-led research, to be published in Environmental Science & Technology, was funded by New Harvest, a non-profit research organisation working to develop new alternatives to conventionally produced meat. An earlier version of the study was presented at a conference last year.

The study showed some of the complex implications of tissue engineering.

For instance, it would take more energy to produce lab-grown chicken than it does for poultry, but would only use a fraction of the land area and water needed to rear chickens.

But the study did not take into account other effects such as transport and refrigeration, the Guardian said.

The study team based their calculations on a process using the bacterium Cyanobacteria hydrolysate as a nutrient and energy source for growing muscle cells.

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