Google co-founder Sergey Brin is investor in synthetic beef venture
Explains in video why he believes it could change the worldThis is kind of a follow-up to this article by April about cultured meat, aka synthetic beef. She writes:
The first burger from Maastrict cost more than €250,000 (US$ 330,000) to produce, but Post expects cultured beef to eventually be cheaper than regular beef (which takes many natural resources including massive amounts of water to produce). Research from the University of Oxford suggests that cultured beef could require 99% less space than what is needed for current livestock farming methods. Research also points to greenhouse gas emissions and other environmental impacts for cultured beef being lower than conventional beef.
The group doesn't think cultured beef will be available on store shelves for at least another decade, however, as mass production techniques need to be developed.
Well, it turns out that one of the investors behind this lab-grown meat is Sergey Brin, the co-founder of Google. In the video below he explains why he decided that this project was worth putting his personal money behind:
"It's 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," Brin said.
Of course, as April points out, any meat grown with this technique is still extremely expensive.
Let us know what you think in our poll belowBut that's not really a new problem; all technologies start out that way. The very first cellphone probably cost hundreds of millions to make (if not billions) if you count all the costs associated with R&D and capital investments into manufacturing, yet you can now get a phone that is more powerful than the supercomputers of a few decades ago for relatively little money. The same will probably happen with synthetic meat as the technology improves and production scales up, and someday it'll cost the same or less than conventional meat. By then, people will have gotten used to the idea, and hopefully it'll start replacing a lot of 'conventional' meat, because whatever the downsides of this are, they can't be worse than the downsides of our current industrial agriculture system (of course, synthetic meat would be just one of many solutions to these problems -- all kind of sustainable agriculture techniques can help a lot, though this is the only one that allows you to get meat without killing).
And any problems with synthetic meat should be fixable... After all, it's not like meat is some magical substance that can't possibly be duplicated, especially if you grow it using the same DNA, nutrient inputs, and processes that take place inside a living animal's muscle. We're starting to be able to grow much more complex organs for transplants to help cure sick or injured people. Muscle is a piece of cake compared to most of these.
I know it sounds weird to us now, but agriculture would have sounded very weird and unnatural to an early hunter gatherer. If we want to reduce our impact on this planet, there are many changes we'll have to make (going vegetarian is something you can do today).
Here's the official tasting:
I believe this one was fat-free, but by adding some fat (some good fat full of omega 3s, ideally) the taste should be even better.
For more, see: Organic, lab-grown hamburgers – only $330,000