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Inside the meat lab: the future of food

Inside the meat lab: the future of food
The future feast is laid out around a cool white room at Eindhoven's University of Technology . There is a steak tartare of in-vitro beef fibre, wittily knitted into the word "meat". There are "fruit-meat" amuse-gueules. The green- and pink-striped sushi comes from a genetically modified vegetarian fish called the biccio that, usefully, has green- and pink-striped flesh. To wash this down, there's a programmable red wine: with a microwave pulse you can turn it into anything from Montepulciano to a Syrah. For the kids, there are sweet fried crickets, programmable colas and "magic meatballs". None of this is quite ready to dish up. The truth, though, is that artificial steak is still a way off. This quest is key to the future of food. "It's the default thing to do, to try and replicate what you know," warns van Mensvoort. It's all Monsanto's fault. "African scientists say, 'Don't you dare bar us from this technology,'" says Fresco. Our desires in food are laden with paradox. Related:  future of foodINSPIRATIONAL NEWS ARTICLES

Future Technology Could Eliminate the Need to Eat Food By early 2030s, experts predict nanobots will be developed to improve the human digestive system, and by 2040 or before, as radical as this sounds, we could eliminate our need for food and eating. This is the vision of futurist Ray Kurzweil and nutritionist Terry Grossman, M.D., in their popular book, Fantastic Voyage: Live Long Enough to Live Forever. In the coming decades, the authors claim, “We will be able to reengineer the way we provide nutrients to our trillions of cells.” Current method of extracting nutrients from food is not working very well. Nearly two thirds of Americans are overweight and it has become extremely difficult for most people to achieve proper nutrition as we trek through our 21st century maze of confusing health options. However, by mid-2030s, nutritional needs tailored exclusively to meet each person’s requirements will be more clearly understood. Americans love to improve their bodies. However, this concept may not be accepted easily.

Retracted autism study an 'elaborate fraud,' British journal finds British journal blasts autism study NEW: Dr. Andrew Wakefield says his work has been "grossly distorted"British journal BMJ accuses Wakefield of faking data for his 1998 paper"The damage to public health continues" as a result of the autism-vaccine claimThe study was retracted and Wakefield lost his license in 2010 Editor's note: Watch Anderson Cooper's interview with the author of the discredited study, Dr. (CNN) -- A now-retracted British study that linked autism to childhood vaccines was an "elaborate fraud" that has done long-lasting damage to public health, a leading medical publication reported Wednesday. An investigation published by the British medical journal BMJ concludes the study's author, Dr. "It's one thing to have a bad study, a study full of error, and for the authors then to admit that they made errors," Fiona Godlee, BMJ's editor-in-chief, told CNN. Britain stripped Wakefield of his medical license in May. Explainer: Autism and vaccines Dr.

The antioxidant myth is too easy to swallow | Henry Scowcroft When the press release arrived in our inboxes, we knew what would happen next. A controversial Nobel laureate had stated, in a peer-reviewed paper he described as "among my most important work", that antioxidant supplements "may have caused more cancers than they have prevented". Even the most fad-friendly sections of the UK media were bound to cover the story. In reality, Professor James Watson – one of the DNA double-helix's founding fathers – was only restating what we at Cancer Research UK (along with many others) have been pointing out for years. It's a topic we at Cancer Research UK come back to again and again on our science blog and on our social media pages. This isn't going to be a Goldacresque run-down of study after study of evidence (although here's a handy Cochrane review for the nerds). One possible reason for our entrenched attitudes is the ubiquitous use of the word "antioxidants" in adverts proclaiming the health benefits of various foods and drinks.

GM tomatoes and helpful bacteria claimed to lower cholesterol Atherosclerosis, more commonly known as hardening of the arteries, can have very serious consequences such as heart attacks and strokes. While there are medications that remove some of the offending plaque from the inside of the affected arteries, not everyone wants to take drugs unless absolutely necessary. Lifestyle improvements can certainly help, but soon two other options may be available – probiotics and genetically-engineered tomatoes. The tomatoes, created by researchers at UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine, were engineered to produce a peptide (an amino acid compound) known as 6F. That peptide mimics the plaque-reducing actions of ApoA-1, which is the main protein in HDL (high density lipoprotein, or “good” cholesterol). After being freeze dried and ground up, the tomatoes were fed to a group of mice that lacked the ability to remove LDL (low density lipoprotein, or “bad” cholesterol) from their bloodstream. Capsules containing Lactobacillus reuteri NCIMB 30242 bacteria

Future of Food Like most people, I don’t think I can be easily fooled. But that’s just what happened when I was asked to taste a chicken taco and tell whether the meat inside was real or fake. The meat certainly had the look and the smell of chicken. I took a bite and it had the taste and texture of real chicken, too. What I was experiencing was more than a clever meat substitute. By 2050, the world’s population will grow to more than 9 billion and our appetite for meat will grow along with it. This is happening in large part because economies are growing and people can afford more meat. But raising meat takes a great deal of land and water and has a substantial environmental impact. That’s why we need more options for producing meat without depleting our resources. Some exciting new companies are taking on this challenge. To see how food scientists are able to use plants to create meat alternatives, watch this video: The chicken taco I ate was made using Beyond Meat’s chicken alternative.

Allergen-free cats – a breed apart - life - 09 June 2006 A California company has turned to conventional breeding to deliver the non-allergenic kittens it promised two years ago. But allergists warn the new cats may still be something to sneeze at. In 2004, Allerca, then based in Los Angeles, announced plans to genetically engineer cats so they would not produce the most common cat allergen, a protein called FEL D1 (See Doubts over plan for allergen-free cats). Now based in San Diego, Allerca has abandoned genetic engineering to focus on selectively breeding cats that lack the version of the FEL D1 protein that triggers allergic reactions. A spokeswoman says the company will deliver the first 400 to 500 "GD" (for genetically divergent) kittens in 2007. Allergists consider the approach scientifically plausible. Allerca says that is because those cats lack the gene to produce the allergenic form of FEL D1, and instead produces a different, non-allergenic protein. Potent allergen But some still want pets. Most sensitive More From New Scientist

BritainsDNA Greed, Green & Grains: Declining crop yields There are many reasons for high commodity prices. But recent data from FAO shows a pretty rapid slowdown in productivity growth. The price spike in 2008 occurred in a particularly bad year in which yields declined on a worldwide basis for three of the four largest food commodities. In 2009 all four of the majors saw yield declines, something that hasn't happened since 1974. 2010 couldn't have been much better and was probably worse, given how bad things were in the U.S, the world's largest producer and exporter (worldwide data for 2010 isn't available yet). Here's the picture: The yield slowdown comes at a particularly unfortunate time, with accelerating demand from emerging economies like China and subsidy-driven expansion of ethanol. Maybe it's just bad luck with the weather. Yeah, resource scarcity will be in the news for awhile yet. Update: Lots of interesting commentary over at Mark Thoma's blog. Anyway, here's the graph for planted area:

The Future of Food The Guardian looks at the future of food, and it doesn't look appetizing. We have covered a lot of this territory before: We'll eat bugs. Why? This is not new food for thought at TreeHugger:"Insect Proteins" as a Food Additive? We'll eat the packaging. For Harvard bioengineer David Edwards, the answer to the packaging problem is simple: just eat it. I have never understood this idea; if you can eat the wrapper, wouldn't you need a wrapper for the wrapper? We'll eat fakes. A growing number of young entrepreneurs, driven by ecological as well as profit motives, are seeking to replace resource-hungry foods such as meat with synthetic and plant-based alternatives. Sami has noted that Lab-Grown Meat Could Slash Emissions By 96%. © Yu Suzuki Our kitchens will talk to us. Suzuki and colleagues have kitted out a kitchen with ceiling-mounted cameras and projectors that overlay cooking instructions on the ingredients. I need this now. We'll eat enhanced. More in the Guardian

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