Food grown in vats

Nicholas Landau nlandau at eden.rutgers.edu
Tue Jul 30 20:36:07 EST 1996

erskine at griffith.dwr.csiro.au (David Erskine) writes:

>In article <4t9275$rf at er6.rutgers.edu>,
>   nlandau at eden.rutgers.edu (Nicholas Landau) wrote:

>>You mentioned that eating cell culture would be practical in places like
>>Antarctica, which are remote from arable land.  I am not sure that I
>>agree.  All of the substrates and nutrients required by the cell
>>culture would need to be imported, anyway.  In fact, the mass of
>>substrate and nutrients used to maintain a cell culture would well
>>exceed your yield of tissue, and so it would be easier just to
>>ship the produce.


>All the nutrients must be imported except water. Fruit is
>mainly water, and water is available in Antarctica after
>melting. Dry weight only has to be imported.

While this is true, it is not really the water that you want from
that vat.  It is the mass of proteins, carbohydrates, etc which will
sustain the residents of your Antarctic research station or wherever.

Of course, water is easily removed from food for shipping, although
often at the cost of the taste (dehydrated fruit...bleh!)

What many have dreamed about is a photosynthetic vat culture which
produces something edible from inorganic nutrients.  Perhaps one
day an alga could be engineered to produce essential amino acids
and human vitamins which could be grown in continuous batch culture.
Just throw some miracle grow into the tank, and let it do its thing.
Anybody who has ever owned an aquarium knows that algae require very
little attention in order to flourish. :)

Something like this is what us microbiologists will probably have to
eat if the job market doesn't turn around.

Nick Landau
Dept. Biochemistry and Microbiology
Rutgers University
nlandau at eden.rutgers.edu

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