Stanford researcher develops meat alternative

Feb. 21, 2012, 2:00 a.m.

Stanford biochemistry professor and researcher Patrick Brown has developed a plant-based product that mimics the taste and texture of real meat. This news comes after reports of new “test-tube” meat, in which hamburgers could be grown in a laboratory environment.


The meat alternative proposed by Brown is supposed to be more cost effective than the test-tube hamburgers, the first of which is estimated to cost $330,000, and may be on the market by the end of the year.


The meat alternative is expected to contain all the nutrients of normal meat, particularly protein.


Brown began his research in creating meat alternatives with the ultimate intent of decreasing animal farming, which Brown called “by far the biggest environmental catastrophe,” at a press conference for the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.


Reducing animal farming could mean increased consumption of crops, decreased use of grazing land and lower risks of livestock disease.


Mark Post, a physician at the Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands, has been working to develop test-tube meat, but said he supports Brown’s work, provided the vegetable-based product mimics meat well in taste and texture.


Both Brown and Post said they hope the new product might wean people off of eating meat and expose them to more plant-based products.


“What you first need is a gateway drug for people to realize that all the things they love can be satisfied by plants,” Brown said to The Huffington Post.


–Judith Pelpola

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