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How Far Will High Tech Take Food From Its Historical Roots?

TestTubeMeat

In many ways technology has assumed a favored position in our attitudes. We must therefore search our feelings carefully as to how much high tech food we want.

High tech is coming to food production in a divergent number of ways. Americans spend approximately $1.5 trillion a year on food. There are profits to be made and technology to harness.

Following are three samples of high-tech food entrepreneurs that have financial backing and actively looking to enter the mainstream markets. These are by no means the only applications of high tech in the wings.

Lab-Grown Meat

Professor Mark Post of Maastricht University in the Netherlands has cultured a beef patty which started from taking a few muscle cells of a cow. Uploaded here is a short video of the process. Modern Meadow, a New York start-up, grows leather and food in its lab using bio-fabrication. The process – similar to Professor Post’s – takes small biopsies from animals and grows them out (see uploaded video). Unlike Professor Post, Modern Meadows just received $10 million in funding to launch the lab-grown meat.

Soylent – giving up regular food

With $2.3 million in initial funding, Rob Rhinehart – CEO of Soylent – is looking to replace food. Rhinehart, from various food sources, extracts essential vitamins, minerals, proteins and carbohydrates and creates a powder. Designed to replace regular food, the human simply mixes up the powder with water three times a day (see uploaded video). Is Rhinehart able to isolate and determine everything that a complex human body needs nutritionally?

ModernMeadow

Mass Production of Milk Without Cows

Bioengineers Ryan Pandya and Perumal Gandhi – from Silicon Valley – have embarked on an endeavor to mass produce milk without cows. Called Muufri (moo-free), the idea is to break down what cow-milk is composed of and re-build it. They can leave out the harmful items like lactose (hard to digest by most adults) or the bad cholesterol. By using the same biotechnology behind beer or vegetarian rennet, they can make milk that tastes and functions just like animal-produced milk but without the problems associated with industrial animal facilities. For more information visit: www.muufri.com

How does the concept of high-tech food make you feel? Are we ready to close the door on our agricultural roots? There are other realms of food that are important. Biodynamic farming introduces us to the idea of the energy content in food – how alive the food is. On average, people have 3.5 lbs. of microbes and bacteria in their bodies that play important roles – microbes and bacteria essentially come from the soil. Leave your comments below.

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