August 17, 2012
Modern Meadow, a startup based in Columbia, Missouri, is working to apply 3D printing technology to meat production, aiming to reduce the environmental footprint of meat consumption. The company's technology use a mixture of different types of cells as "ink" to print layers of tissue.
Modern Meadow's initiative comes as investment in artificial meat production is growing. Even the animal rights' group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has gotten involved, offering $1 million to the first scientist who can create lab-grown meat in quantities large enough to be sold commercially and is indistinguishable in taste from the real thing.
Meat production is a significant source of environmental degradation. Cattle ranching and soy production — much of which goes to feed livestock — are the largest drivers of deforestation in the Amazon. Meanwhile the U.N. estimates that more than one-seventh of greenhouse gas emissions result from meat production.