Cellular agriculture: The coming revolution in food production
Cellular agriculture is a nascent technology that allows meat and other agricultural products to be cultured from cells in a bioreactor rather than harvested from livestock on a farm. It is an important, and perhaps revolutionary, technology that presents opportunities to improve animal welfare, enhance human health, and decrease the environmental footprint of meat production. At the same time, it is not without challenges. In particular, because the technology largely replaces biological systems with chemical and mechanical ones, it has the potential to increase industrial energy consumption and, consequently, greenhouse gas emissions. Realizing positive outcomes on all fronts will require technologists, policy makers, and individual consumers to understand this technology and make wise, well-informed decisions as it is developed. If monitored and managed appropriately, cellular agriculture could allow humans to produce more food on less land than ever before while simultaneously mitigating other environmental problems.