Imagine a world where animal meat as we know it would no longer exist and would be replaced by artificial meat made from human cells that you created yourself, with the added bonus of better traceability. American researchers created a steak from human cells taken from the inside of the cheeks.
They have developed a kit – which is only a prototype for the moment – to rub the inside of the cheeks in order to recover its own cells. They will then have to be kept warm for three months in expired human blood serum, explains The Science Times. And this meat recreated from scratch has a name: ” The Ouroboros Steak”, in reference to the Egyptian symbol of the serpent biting its tail.
Between artistic and scientific project
The project, which is certainly not very inviting, is halfway between the artistic and scientific approach. Prototypes were first exhibited at the Philadelphia Museum of the Arts. If you want to see the life-size project, a few pieces of this new kind of steak are currently on display at the Design Museum in London, they were selected as part of the Beazley Designs of the Year.
The project was designed to respond to many criticisms that have been hit with in vitro meat grown in the laboratory. Artificial meat is sometimes made from fetal bovine blood serum, which requires “to slaughter pregnant cows in order to obtain the serum from the calf”, explains Marie-Pierre Ellies-Oury, agricultural engineer and doctor in animal sciences at the University of Burgundy, also responsible for the specialization “Sustainable animal sectors”, at Bordeaux Sciences Agro. Thus, using human cells and human blood serum that is no longer used would avoid this animal suffering.
Contacted by Konbini news, Marie-Pierre Ellies-Oury specifies, however, that “The companies working on artificial meat have succeeded in reconstituting a serum which allows the growth of cells without bovine serum. Several start-ups in the field have already found a palliative”, which would undermine the argument put forward by the The Ouroboros Steak project.
A crucial question remains about this project and remains on everyone’s lips: that of ethics. According to one of the creators of Ouroboros Steak, it wouldn’t be “legally” cannibalism reports Slate. But for the agricultural engineer, there is no doubt:
“The harvesting of human cells and the cultivation of human cells, except for aspects of tissue reconstitution, is something that is not feasible from a diet point of view. given how the ethics committee works, I do not even imagine that it will be studied in 2050. There will be many other avenues that will be considered by then, in particular artificial meat, but from animal cells . You can’t start from a human cell. “
A project that does not pass at the ethical level for Marie-Pierre Ellies-Oury, who compares this experiment to that of cloning. “It’s very regulated and these are impossible things to do”, she asserts. As for the marketing of such a prototype, let’s not talk about it. This “work of art meat” is not yet ready to end up on the supermarket shelves. “Already for artificial meat from animals, mentalities will have to evolve in order to be able to market it”, so for meat made from human cells, the idea seems completely absurd for the moment. Especially since the “digestibility” could prove difficult recognizes the engineer.
Artificial meat soon on our plates?
On the other hand, artificial meat created from animal cells could well be marketed in France in the near future and arrive on our plates. “Since November 11, there is a restaurant in Spain that has opened and offers cultured meat. So the development of cultured meat has a deadline that is very close, progress is important. Gourmey in France had announced that it would be able to make foie gras by 2022 “, explains the engineer. Meat created from human cells may therefore remain at the prototype stage and work of art, and it may not be worse.