Food
Food
Lab-grown meat feeds the world

Petri meat, in vitro meat, cultured meat. Call it whatever you like, but get used to the name. Meat produced in a lab (and grown from animal cells) could be the future of nutrition.

The scientists who are developing test-tube meat (and chicken!) say it is an important way to keep up with the world's growing appetite for protein while simultaneously reducing meat production's environmental impact like land requirements and CO2 emissions.

There are only about 30 people working on cultured meat globally, and they agree the stuff will take a while to get to grocers' shelves. The biggest hurdle to commercialization (besides the obvious "ick" factor) is lack of funding for research -- though money is trickling in from unconventional sources. A scientist in the Netherlands received 300,000 euros from an anonymous donor to produce a lab burger. And PETA is offering $1 million to the scientist who can make and sell cultured chicken by June 2012.

--Beth Kowitt


@FortuneMagazine - Last updated January 10 2012: 5:43 AM ET
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