the new synthetic meat that everyone is talking about
Even children know it: the mammoth is an extinct animal, and for 5 thousand years. But then why is everyone talking about these days mammoth meatballs?
An Australian food company has made a giant patty of lab-grown meat (also called cultured meat or synthetic meat) from Woolly mammoth DNAto show that the animal protein-based synthetic food sector is booming.
Why the mammoth?
Tim Noakesmith, co-founder of Vow, the Australian company that created the meatball, said woolly mammoth meat is a symbol of the damages of previous climate changes responsible for the animal’s extinction. In our near future, if we do not change intensive agriculture and livestock practices, we risk facing very similar problems. For this reason, a change in our eating habits seems necessary and for this reason the giant meatball has arrived, more a provocation to awaken consciences than a real food proposal.
Towards a new diet?
For now, Italy does not allow the marketing of meat produced in the laboratory, but there are already many companies in the world that are working on the creation of substitutes for chicken, pork and beef. The goal is to reduce the large-scale production of meat, which is responsible for enormous damage to the environment.
To find new food sources, the researchers of the Australian company relied on the sequence of Mammoth myoglobin DNA, the protein responsible for the characteristic flavor of meat. Since the DNA of the extinct animal was incomplete, DNA from African elephants was also used.
More cultured meats to come
The same company that created the meatball has already thought of another 50 types of meat to be replicated in synthetic form, for example alpaca, buffalo, crocodile, kangaroo and peacock. As CEO George Peppou explains, the goal is for billions of consumers to switch to synthetic meat and abandon real meat, even if the data provided by FAO and the United Nations seem to say otherwise.
The world consumption of meat has practically doubled since the 1960s. Livestock accounts for 14.5% of global greenhouse gas emissions. It is also estimated that meat consumption will increase by 70% by 2050. Reversing this trend is one of the challenges scientists are facing.
What will this strange pachydermic meatball taste like?
The taste of the mammoth meatball is still unknown: we will only find out if it passes various safety tests, to be sure that it can be absorbed by today’s humans (prehistoric men hunted them and ate their meat). The Sydney company ensures that their products are much better than natural meat, at least from an environmental point of view. And you, if it were marketed, would you taste this strange cultivated meat from prehistoric times or would you prefer to remain faithful to conventional meats, perhaps thinking of a more eco-sustainable approach?
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