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Extinct mammoth meatballs unveiled by food tech company

Food scientists on Tuesday unveiled giant meatballs made from the meat of an extinct woolly mammoth grown in a lab, saying the protein of the past has paved the way for the food of the future.

The glowing meatballs were displayed under a glass bell jar at the NEMO Science Museum in Amsterdam, the Dutch capital, by Australian-based cultured meat company Vow.

However, this protein, which was created thousands of years ago, is not yet ready to eat as it needs to undergo safety testing before it can be eaten by modern humans.

“We chose woolly mammoth meat because it is a symbol of the losses lost to climate change,” Bow co-founder Tim Noakesmith told AFP at the event.

“We face a similar fate if we don’t do something different,” said Norkesmith, including changing practices such as large-scale farming and how we eat.

Scientists were the first to identify the DNA sequence of mammoth myoglobin, a key protein that gives meat its flavor.

Using genes from the mammoth’s closest living relative, the African elephant, they filled in some gaps in the mammoth’s myoglobin sequence and inserted it into sheep cells using electrical charges.

– Does it taste like chicken? –

If that process doesn’t put you off, it could be a safety issue.

“We haven’t seen this protein in 4,000 years, so we don’t eat it now,” says Ernst Wolvetang of the Australian Institute of Biotechnology at the University of Queensland, who worked with Vow on the project.

“But after safety testing, I’m really interested to see what it tastes like.

The scientists slow-cooked the giant ball in an oven, then charred the outside with a torch.

“It smelled like cooked alligator meat,” Bowe’s chief scientific officer, James Ryan, told the audience.

Christopher Bryant, a UK-based alternative protein expert, told AFP there’s no need to fear lab-grown meat.

“Unlike conventional meat, which is obtained from dirty and unpredictable animals, cultured meat is produced with great precision in sanitized food production facilities,” he said.

“For this reason, cultivated meat avoids food-borne pathogens, antibiotics and other contaminants commonly found in animal meat,” he told AFP.

– “Redefinition of Meat” –

According to United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization statistics, mammoth meatballs show the link between climate change and the food of the future, as global meat consumption has nearly doubled since the early 1960s.

According to FAO, global livestock production accounts for about 14.5% of global human-induced greenhouse gas emissions as climate change warms the planet.

With meat consumption projected to increase by more than 70% by 2050, scientists are increasingly turning to meat alternatives such as plant-based and lab-grown meats.

Noakesmith, a self-described “failed vegan,” says his Sydney-based startup isn’t aiming to stop people from eating meat, but rather to “provide something better” and use labs. It aims to translate the idea of ​​proteins created in

“We decided to create mammoth meatballs to draw attention to the fact that the future of food is better and more sustainable.”

Food scientists say Vow, which plans to launch its first product, lab-grown Japanese quail, in Singapore in the next few months, is “an attempt to redefine what cultured meat is.” increase.

“Rather than trying to normalize cultured meat, mammoth meatballs are trying to highlight how different the technology is,” says Neil Stephen, senior lecturer in technology and society at the University of Birmingham in central England. Su said.

“This suggests a future where we eat meat made from seeds we have never been in contact with, which is very different from the meat we eat now,” he told AFP.

https://www.expatica.com/nl/general/meatball-from-extinct-mammoth-unveiled-by-food-tech-firm-563483/ Extinct mammoth meatballs unveiled by food tech company

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