South Korean Scientists Develop Sustainable ‘Meaty Rice’

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Scientists in South Korea have made a groundbreaking discovery in the field of sustainable food production. They have successfully developed a new type of hybrid food that could potentially help address food crises and combat climate change. This innovative creation, known as “meaty” rice, was cultivated in a lab by researchers at Seoul’s Yonsei University. Packed with beef muscle and fat cells, this pink rice offers a promising alternative to traditional meat products, providing a cheaper and more environmentally sustainable option.

In a press release, Park So-hyeon, co-author of the study, expressed the potential impact of this new grain, stating, “Imagine obtaining all the nutrients we need from cell-cultured protein rice.” Rice, already known for its high nutrient content, is further enhanced by the addition of livestock cells. The team coated the rice with fish gelatin, allowing the beef cells to attach to the grains. The rice was then cultured in a petri dish for up to 11 days.

The final product exhibited impressive nutritional qualities, containing 8 percent more protein and 7 percent more fat than regular rice. Additionally, it displayed a firmer and more brittle texture compared to natural grains. However, the most significant advantage of this hybrid rice lies in its significantly smaller carbon footprint. Traditional meat production involves raising and farming animals, which consume substantial resources, water, and release a significant amount of greenhouse gases. In contrast, the production method for this rice eliminates the need for animal farming, thus reducing its environmental impact.

According to the press release, for every 100g (3.5 ounces) of protein produced, hybrid rice is estimated to release under 6.27 kilograms of carbon dioxide. In comparison, beef production releases eight times more carbon dioxide. This substantial reduction in carbon emissions makes the hybrid rice a more sustainable choice for environmentally conscious consumers.

The potential benefits extend beyond the environment. If commercialized, this rice could provide a much cheaper option for consumers in South Korea. The estimated cost of the hybrid rice is around $2.23 per kilo, while beef costs approximately $15. This significant price difference makes the hybrid rice an accessible and affordable alternative to traditional meat products.

The team behind this groundbreaking discovery intends to further refine the process to enhance the nutritional value of the rice before it becomes available on the market. Their goal is to optimize the growth of cells within the rice grains, ensuring maximum nutritional benefits. Park So-hyeon envisions a world of possibilities for this grain-based hybrid food, stating, “It could one day serve as food relief for famine, military rations, or even space food.”

In conclusion, South Korean scientists have developed a sustainable and innovative solution to address food crises and combat climate change. The creation of “meaty” rice, packed with beef muscle and fat cells, offers a cheaper and more environmentally friendly alternative to traditional meat products. With its smaller carbon footprint and impressive nutritional qualities, this hybrid rice has the potential to revolutionize the food industry. As further research and development are conducted, the possibilities for this grain-based hybrid food are endless.

Source: The Manila Times

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