Plant scaffolds culture meat cells, for polygenomic gourmet meals
Concept: Meat Math
With the issue of global climate change reaching a peak, solution brainstorming is at the top of mind worldwide. At Futurity, the topic of “meat math” surfaced, which are the calculations surrounding exactly how harmful every meal we consume is for the environment. Your beef’s carbon footprint moving from farm to table, the gallons of water wasted to feed the livestock, and the plastic produced to package everything up. How can we minimize the harmful numbers that add up against our planet?
During research into “meat math” we uncovered that meat grown in a petri dish grows flat. Meat can’t be flat, though. It has volume and mass that won’t be recreated in a cell culture bioreactor. We discovered that in order for meat to be replicated in a way that actually resembles meat, it could be grown inside of a dynamic shape that has structure and scaffolding, like a fruit or vegetable. Here the idea was born: let’s grow meat inside of a tomato!
One scientific study showed the results of decellularizing a spinach leaf, and replacing it with human heart cells. Miraculously, the leaf embraced the heart cells and adopted a real heartbeat. Other cells can be placed into different fruits or veggies too. Thinking futuristically, whichever plant you choose to grow something in should resemble what you want to grow in shape and size in order to accommodate it. For example, it would make sense to grow human heart cells inside of an artichoke, or lung cells in lavender, or limbs in aloe vera. More on this in our Chimera Garden artifact.
If we think about a world where this works flawlessly, we can dream bigger. What if we could grow our entire meal, meat, fruits, and veggies all in our backyard? No transportation, no massive amounts of water, no packaging, no carbon emissions. Now that’s green.