Factory farming and industry scandals have caused a reduction in meat consumption by Germans. Instead, consumption of vegetarian sausages and soybean steaks is increasing. Animal muscular tissue grown in the laboratory promises actual meat without the need to raise and kill animals. Researchers of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) have studied whether so-called in-vitro meat is a viable alternative.
Production of in-vitro meat is complex and possible only in small amounts. However, Inge Böhm of KIT's Institute for Technology Assessment and Systems Analysis (ITAS) says, "In the future, in-vitro meat might help solve problems caused by meat consumption in view of growing global population, climate change, and animal protection. By culturing animal muscle stem cells, it might no longer be necessary to grow and kill animals with a high resource expenditure."
Currently available meat substitutes, such as vegetarian reproductions of turkey breast, pork schnitzel or meat balls made of soybeans or seitan, are controversial. While an increasing number of part-time vegetarians, who want to eat less meat for ethical reasons, consume pseudo-meat made of compressed soybeans, peas, and carrots, critics warn that these highly processed artificial imitations might even increase alienation between man and animal. In spite of recent technical progress, there are still hurdles to meat production by culturing animal muscle stem cells, such as the lack of a non-animal nutrient solution.
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