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In the future, do you eat real meat or fake meat?

Artificial meat, a term that originally existed only in science fiction, has recently become the focus of society. First, China’s first generation of artificial meat products was launched in Hangzhou, and then China’s first artificial cultured meat produced by culturing muscle cells was born at Nanjing Agricultural University. McDonald’s also launched artificial patties burgers in some Canadian restaurants. But why don’t we eat good meat and eat artificial meat? What is artificial meat? Don’t worry, Yiya gives you one by one answer.

Isn’t the meat really fragrant?

The global climate is now warming, industrial pollution is serious, and the per capita arable area is visibly reduced. It is expected that by 2030, the global per capita arable land will be reduced by 70%. Individuals, by 2030 will have to feed 6 people. In addition, global meat consumption has increased from 45 million tons to 300 million tons in the past 50 years. According to this trend, it may increase to 600 million tons by 2050. Behind such a large consumption of meat is a large area of ​​feed cultivation. The land area required to produce 1 gram of protein in beef and mutton is 1.02 square meters, but how can there be such a large place to cultivate? Therefore, we need to find a production method that occupies less land, consumes less resources, and has less impact on the environment.

What is artificial meat

Artificial meat is divided into artificial real meat and artificial fake meat. Artificial real meat is generally made of animal muscle cells, through a series of methods, a cell mass, cell cake or cell mass grown in a petri dish. Since the real meat cells grow out, artificial real meat naturally has no difference in taste from ordinary meat, but the size of this meat is generally not large, after all, the petri dish is so large (generally 9 cm in diameter , 2 cm thick). And because it needs to be turned into a meat patty through cell proliferation, the manufacturing process is very long, the required equipment and culture conditions are relatively harsh, so the cost is very expensive.

In addition to laboratory cultivation methods, artificial real meat can also be produced by 3D printing. As long as the method of cell culture is used, a large number of cells are cultivated, and then 3D printing technology is used to combine these cells together. The meat produced by this method can be very large, but the price is still very expensive. After all, it is very expensive to raise cells.

Next, talk about artificial fake meat. Artificial fake meat is made of non-meat protein (usually plant protein, but also mushroom and other fungal protein), which is really “meat” without “meat”. In view of the high production and consumption costs of artificial real meat, at present we mean “artificial meat” usually referring to artificial fake meat.

How is artificial fake meat made?

After reading the explanation of artificial fake meat, some students may think of “vegetarian chicken”, “vegan ham” and “vegetable roast goose” seen in some vegetarian restaurants. Yes, they can be regarded as early artificial meat, but The current artificial fake meat is very different in technology. Today’s artificial fake meat, in terms of taste and appearance, strives to be similar to real meat.

It is not easy to do this. The protein in real meat has a complex three-dimensional protein conformation, while also capturing fat, water, polysaccharides, and small molecules responsible for the flavor of the meat; the muscle fibers in the meat can bring “chewyness” to the meat. Due to the natural differences between plants and animals, these meat characteristics are almost completely absent from plants. The researchers analyzed the chemical composition of flavor molecules in real meat, mainly made of peas, mixed coconut oil, melon seed oil, rapeseed oil, etc. to make flavor analogs, and replaced the carbohydrate component in real meat with starch in rice and potatoes Use the coconut meat mold to simulate the large fat in the meat, and use the beet juice mold to simulate the red color of the meat.

It is not enough to have a similar appearance. The real meat can bring us the taste and taste. In addition to the “meat” flavor molecules, there are some proteins. The main ones are two proteins, hemoglobin and myoglobin. The researchers discovered the plant homologous protein of these two proteins, soybean hemoglobin, in soybean nodules. Bean hemoglobin is a complex protein that was first discovered by Japanese scientist Kubo Hideo in 1939. So, the researchers cloned the gene sequence expressing leghemoglobin, based on this, adding various plant ingredients to simulate the taste and appearance of the meat, and finally produced a piece of artificial fake meat.

It can be seen from the production process of artificial fake meat that it is theoretically healthier than ordinary meat. First of all, no antibiotics are needed in the production process, and the nutrients in the meat can be controlled artificially; secondly, every 100 grams of artificial fake meat contains only 1.5 grams of saturated fat and does not contain any cholesterol. Dream; in the end, artificial fake meat has a much lower risk of viruses than ordinary meat. Therefore, in the future, when artificial fake meat really reaches the level of being fake, it is believed that more people will choose to eat artificial fake meat.

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