While the rest of us were wasting our time sleeping or soaking in the spa, our ambitious food scientists have been steadily beavering away on the cultivation of chicken tissues. The goal is toward the mass production of chicken-like food.  Poulterer and Kentucky Colonel Harlan Sanders will be transformed into tissue farmer Dr. Sanders in a lab coat and goggles.

The mass production of tissue cultivated meats won’t happen anytime soon. However, it is something that is being investigated by serious workers in the field.

I have to admit that my unquestioning embrace of Progress is weakening. Nonetheless, interesting things are happening. Consider the work of Vladimir Mironov, Director of the MUSC Bioprinting Center at the Medical School, University of South Carolina in Charleston.  In an effort to get around the engineering problem relating to the construction of 3-D structured tissues, the idea of layering cells by ink-jet deposition was developed.

Who knows where this is going?  Mironov’s technology will be very expensive initially, so its application to the production of $4.59 pork tenderloin sandwiches at the local diner is some distance into the future. More likely than not, it will be used for the cultivation of designer transplant organs.

Eventually, some company with deep pockets will attempt to market engineered meats. I would venture to say that the marketing problem is nearly as big as the technology challenge. Wide acceptance into the marketplace will take a while. I wonder how the first ad campaign will take shape? PETA approved Beef-Like Steak Food. Marbling and tenderizing is already engineered into the “cut”. Marketing may eventually be its undoing.

Synthetic chicken fried steak with mashed potatoes and synthetic gravy. Genetically modified Roundup Ready corn on the cob boiled in reverse-osmosis purified water. HEPA filtered air in a kitchen cleaned with anti-microbial soaps. Mouths freshly gargled with hydrogen peroxide and bellies full of nutritional supplements. Lordy. Where are we going with this?

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