Meaty Greens

You’ve heard of grass-fed meat – how about grass-grown?!

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science.

Experts say eating less meat is good for the planet. But those double-doubles are hard to give up! Is it possible to grow a “greener” burger? 

Enter Scott Allan from the University of Bath in the UK and colleagues. They noticed that the cellular structure of grass kinda resembles muscle fibers. That gave them an idea.

The team picked some rye and bluegrass blades from their campus grounds. They washed the blades with chemicals until all that was left was the cell structure. Then, the researchers planted muscle cells from mice onto the blade’s surface, and incubated. 

Results? After seven days, ninety-five percent of the muscle cells survived! And thirty-five percent successfully attached and grew alongside the structure of the blade! Voila – grass-grown meat, literally! 

The researchers are hoping to use cells from cattle to grow beef using their new approach. 

But I wonder… will grass-grown meat count as a serving of veggies?

Reference: Allan, S, Ellis, M & De Bank, P 2021, ‘Decellularized grass as a sustainable scaffold for skeletal muscle tissue engineering’, Journal of Biomedical Materials Research – Part A.