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Vat Grown Food

Grow genetically engineered food in vats for the poor.
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(+6, -7)
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Genetic engineering is progressing quickly and so is biological studies. We can grow human tissue in labs relatively easily. Why not grow foods in vats? For example, grow orange pulp in a vat. it's basically an orange with cancer. Just have it's cells not drop telomeres so the cells never die. Once it's big enough, clice it into cubes, freeze dry, and radiate to make it sterile and to keep people from fearing about eating engineered foods. Since it's dead it can't do much to them. Then wrap it up, and do air drops in some country. The same may apply to meat, but half the taste of meat comes from the muscles that worked out. If you were to grow meat cells, you would want to grow it in a shallow pool and insert electrodes to have the muscles spasm so the meat would taste good. This isn't gormet stuff folks, but it would be good for government sponsored food programs.
lockle, Aug 15 2000

Telomere description http://www.eurekale...cshl-sit061200.html
Explains the biology, history, and the pro's and con's. [lockle, Aug 15 2000, last modified Oct 21 2004]

Animal 57 http://www.kibo.com...sis/animal_57.shtml
Vat-grown meat is one of the canonical in-jokes of Kibology. [baf, Aug 15 2000, last modified Oct 21 2004]

Quorn, a meat substitute http://www.quorn.com/
A tasty "flesh-like fungus" grown in vats. Apparently fairly popular. [wiml, Aug 15 2000, last modified Oct 21 2004]

Vat Grown Meat on the way http://www.newsdesk....cfm?ArticleID=1098
[waugsqueke, Jul 09 2005]

Wired article http://www.wired.co...logy/0,71201-0.html
"Test Tube Meat Nears Dinner Table" [angel, Jun 22 2006]

James King: Dressing the Meat of Tomorrow http://www.james-ki.../projects/meat.html
[jutta, Jul 04 2006]


       "Just have it's [sic] cells never drop telomers [sic] so the cells never die."   

       Mmm, if we could do *that*...
egnor, Aug 15 2000

       Not really necessary. There's plenty of food to feed everyone in the world. People starve because of (among other things) bureaucratic inertia, lack of political will (or sometimes too much political will - e.g. the US's inability to sell surplus food to Cuba) and food distribution difficulties.
hippo, Aug 15 2000

       Soylent Green is People!   

       Mmmmm... Cancerous Orange. Tasty.
Scott_D, Aug 15 2000, last modified Aug 16 2000

       Wow, this has about every feature to scare people off a food: vat-grown genetically modified and then irradiated. The only thing it's missing is to feed the foodpulp on something gross, like human sewage. That way cities could convert their effluent into valueable prolefodder and distribute it among the needy. Ooo yuk.
Skinny Rob, Aug 15 2000

       If you are intent on feeding the starving (their bellies are empty, but their souls are saved for Jesus) consider that insects are around 90% protein. Worms are actually kind of crunchy, and Red ants taste like lemon.
Scott_D, Aug 20 2000

       Vat-grown meat half-baked? Haven't you ever had Chicken McNuggets?
Vance, Feb 05 2001

       The concept of vat grown good is a popular science fiction meme in many cyberpunk (and some non-cyberpunk) books. This idea is not even remotely original.
dgeiser13, Jun 24 2001

       cross-post from Vegetarian > Lobo Cows: Yeast, plantkon, algae and bacteria are all vat-grown 'animals' commonly used as commercial food additives. It is my understanding that there is an Italian brand of low-fat ice cream made from a base of vat-grown bacteria which are killed by high-temperature steam and processed into a flavourless, fat-free, high-protein paste (essentially, pus). Bon Apetit.
lsenater, Sep 26 2001

       From my redundant post:   

       Perceived Disadvantages:   

       1. People would think it is gross. (Easily remedied by showing animal lover videos of typical slaughterhouses. I eat meat, but the way we do it now is a lot grosser than getting it from this process, similar to farming plants.)   

       2. It isn't natural, and would then have the same problems as antibiotics in animals, recycling animals, genetically engineered crops, etc. (This is a valid concern. With all the artificial processes involved, maybe it would not be as good nutritionally, etc. But we wouldn't have to worry about a lot of things, because of the controlled environment; no germs in the meat, no tranfer of genetically engineered genes into other animals, etc.)   

       3. Costs more to produce than traditional farming. I have no idea if this would happen or not.   

       Perceived Advantages:   

       1. Since it is grown in controlled conditions, there would be less likelihood of a lot of problems involved with farming. Diseases, adverse natural problems, and other outside influences would not affect things at all, since sealed from outside environment.   

       2. Possibly cheaper. Meat could be processed entirely by specialized machines, which would probably be cheaper than butchers, etc. No cleaning and gutting, etc. Not necessary to feed with things that animals eat. Food used entirely in production of meat, not for unused animal products like feathers. No need for antibiotics, other forms of disease control.   

       3. The type of vegetarian/vegan that doesn't eat meat for conscience reasons would be able to eat this. (Good for them I think since meat has important nutrients, whatever.) Yeah you probably would have to kill an animal or two to get the stem cells to start it with, but any animal lover would agree it is better than killing thousands, which is what would happen if it was universally adopted, which is what would happen if they ate it and supported it. :-)   

       4. You could grow only the choicest types, instead of having gross things like livers and pigs feet and cow tongues. Ew. Then I wouldn't have to look at them at the supermarket while trying to find lumps of muscle tissue that have no resemblance to the animal they were originally in. Steak and chicken breast for me, thanks.
Skullhead, Oct 30 2002

       This has to be redundant, because it's about the fifth time I've invoked Frederick Pohl and C.M. Kornbluth's "The Space Merchants" in an annotation.
snarfyguy, Oct 30 2002

       Meat is not the only thing that animals are good for. A lot of useful products come from their hides and other parts of their bodies. Animals would still have to be killed regardless of whether or not meat could be grown in a vat.
cbfog, Oct 30 2002

       BAH! If we could grow meat in a vat, we could also grow continuous hides in giant rolls like paper mills. Anything else we wanted we could also grow. Besides, there are synthetics for a lot of stuff.
Skullhead, Oct 31 2002

       It probably won't be too long before we're growing everything we need genetically. This post isn't a novel idea, just a boneheaded ramble about something which a lot of much better people have thought about a lot more.   

       Nomination for worst spelling mistake on HB: "clice".
sild, Oct 31 2002

       Your not weird pete your just fine and i'm proud to say your mine, regardless of strange things you've done I'm so glad that your my son, I really think from what you've said the problems all in your head and if you want to make a change you must let go of being strange.
Gulherme, Oct 31 2002

       In order to grow, the cancer/bacteria would need some source of food. Why not just feed *that* to the hungry?
plasticornflake, Feb 13 2003

       The print version of New Scientist mentioned that the "fish " portions they made were "fed" with calf blood or something if I remember rightly...yeuch.   

       questions - 1. Could vegetarians eat this type of meat depending on their reasons for vegetarianism (cruelty etc.)? 2. Could this make long distance space flight easier with the possibilty of a "really" self sufficient crew. Take a skin sample and grow your own meat. This might make cannibalism a feasible idea...if it is cannibalism.
chimpoid, Feb 13 2003

       [chimpoid]1. Sure, but we'd have to come up with a new name for them - vegiandmeatvatians. 2. Probably not - you're just converting nutrition from one form to another. Without something like photosynthesis to create the food in the first place, you'll usually have a net loss in food value. Just grow plants.   

       [hippo]//People starve because of// all the reasons listed, plus meat eaters. Raising enough cows to feed a person for a year takes ~18x the amount of grain as would sustain that same person for a year. It takes 2500 gallons of water to raise a pound of meat vs. 25 gallons for a pound of wheat.
Worldgineer, Feb 14 2003

       HeLa cells - yuck.
Basepair, Jul 10 2005


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