One Israeli researcher is hoping that one day meat grown in a lab will replace animal slaughtering.
Professor Amit Gefen, a bioengineer at Tel Aviv University, is currently investigating the feasibility of producing test tube chicken.
Sponsored by the Modern Agricultural Foundation, the goal of Gefen’s study is to produce “a recipe for how to culture chicken cells” within one year’s time, according to Shir Friedman, co-chair of the foundation.
The latest Israeli study is not the first time test tube meat or so-called ‘cultured meat’ has been explored.
Five years ago, researchers at Maastricht University in the Netherlands managed to produce a test tube hamburger at a cost of approximately $300,000.
In that case, the researchers relied on gathering cow muscle fibers into a chunk of meat.
Gefen’s planned method, though, is much more complex. He plans to get edible chicken meat from a single chicken cell.
Culturing the cell and allowing it to multiply, one of the challenges facing Gefen is finding a growth factor that allows the final product to be edible. Another will be making the finished product a suitable and viable alternative to traditionally raised fowl.
If successful, though, Gefen’s test tube chicken could one day drastically reduce the environmental impact of consuming poultry.
In a recent study conducted by Oxford University and the University of Amsterdam, meat grown in a lab would produce 96 percent less greenhouse gases, consume far less water and free up land currently being used to raise animals for food.
Friedman is confident that Gefen’s plan will succeed.
“In the not so distant future we will look back at how we used to raise cows and chickens and put so much effort into getting a small piece of meat,” Friedman said, convinced cultured meat will one day be the solution to meeting the world’s growing demand for protein sources without destroying the environment.