Developmental biologist and tissue engineer, Dr. Vladimir Mironov had some difficulty finding financial backing for his research. Two US government agencies declined to fund his project. For a short time, NASA provided capital for the research. The money needed to continue the project was finally provided by a well known animal rights organization. This prompted estimates that laboratory cultured meat products might be available for public consumption as early as this fall.
The process harvests embryonic animal cells -- often from bird eggs -- which are then bathed in a growth serum made from bovine material. As the cells multiply and bind together, electric shocks are administered to stimulate the formation of muscle tissue. The resulting tissue is then ground and fortified with supplemental vitamins and nutrients. Depending upon consumer preference, the food could be designed with varying texture and taste. According to Dr. Mironov it is all perfectly safe for human consumption.
Dr. Mironov is also one of the primary researchers in a separate $20 million project. This project is utilizing the same technology to culture donor organs from human stem cells.
Recent events, however, may cause both projects to have an uncertain future. Dr. Mironov has been suspended from the Medical University of South Carolina and his laboratory closed pending an investigation of allegations of unacceptable behavior. This latest development could mean that estimates for fall release of test tube meat could be delayed.