Home » Here is the first ‘hybrid food’ created in the laboratory, rice and beef fused together

Here is the first ‘hybrid food’ created in the laboratory, rice and beef fused together

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Here is the first ‘hybrid food’ created in the laboratory, rice and beef fused together

Food enthusiasts of the future may soon find themselves enjoying a surprising culinary novelty: meat-enhanced rice. This new product, the result of laboratory-grown meat, is born from the union of rice grains and bovine cells, as reported on February 14 in the Matter magazine.

Il rice acts as a scaffold to support the growth of fat or muscle cells, creating a rice-meat hybrid that, once cooked, takes on a consistency and color ranging from pink to brown (did you know that wagyu was 3D printed?). The taste? Delightful, “nutty and slightly sweet” says Sohyeon Park, a chemical engineer at Yonsei University in Seoul, South Korea.

Although meat-enriched rice is not yet ready to be served on our tables, it holds promise for more sustainable meat consumption in the future. Current meat production methods, which include livestock farming, require large grazing areas and are responsible foremission of over 100 million metric tons of methane into the atmosphere every year.

Exploring alternatives to traditional meat could therefore have a positive impact on the environment. Lab-grown meat presents itself as a solution to reducing the use of livestock (although there is a big problem). In their experiment, Park and his colleagues have coated rice grains with fish gelatin and enzymes, and then add bovine cells. This “fishy” coating promoted the adhesion and growth of cells within the grains.

Rice, thanks to its three-dimensional structure, offers ideal support for cells, similar to how vines climb a pergola, giving the whole thing a texture more similar to that of meat. On its own, cellular tissue tends to grow in thin, flat layers. From a nutritional point of view, the rice-meat hybrid shines more for its taste than its protein contentoffering just 8% more protein than conventional rice.

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However, Park hopes to increase this percentage by further enriching the beans with bovine cells.

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