Tuesday, April 22, 2008

PETA's X-prize

SHOCKINGLY, THIS IS ACTUALLY A GOOD IDEA: P.E.T.A. offers a $1 million prize for fake meat: That is, "real" meat grown In vitro instead of from animals.

Been meaning to comment on this for a while. Nice idea, but I'm not sure it will fly. Do you want to know how we grow cells nowadays? I'll pretend you do. In a monolayer, using *gasp* fetal cow blood (sera) (which is the best source of growth factors). This is hideously expensive firstly, costing about $200 for a 500 ml bottle, which will handle 500 dishes of cells. So that's one huge barrier. Will PETA endorse a method that relys on killing cows, to get their blood, to raise cells, which is a replacement of the meat from the animal that you killed in the first place?

The second problem is that delicious monolayer of cells. Currently we can only grow cells so thick because of diffusion. Its the reason we have capillaries, after all. We would need to engineer a system that mimics a animal's body, including capillaries, blood, pump, and waste disposal. Or, we could just raise cows the old fashion way, which is much better designed for the process, and a heck of alot cheaper.


Tori'sPop said...

Umm yeah....totally lost dude.....can you break that down for us slow folks?

azgma said...

Well, Robert, as you kinda pointed out, it just will not work. A better idea would be for people to decrease meat/dairy consumption and rely on vegan protein.

Gibbiex said...

Basically we can't grow meat in culture since we can't grow it thick enough, and its expensive like hell, and we use fetal cow blood to culture it anyway. You see the problem with using fetal cow blood for a cow replacement meat. We have a ways to go on this, and frankly i doubt it will be possible to make it cheaper than the real thing.