MUSC researchers working to create meat in labs - WCIV-TV | ABC News 4 - Charleston News, Sports, Weather

MUSC researchers working to create meat in labs

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Charleston, S.C. (WCIV) -- "We take cells, put them together and create tissue," explained Dr. Vladimir Mironov, a researcher with MUSC.

Dr. Mironov is using bioengineering to create meat in a laboratory.

"Skeletal muscle fibers, we put them together, they fuse and create skeletal muscle fibers and this is the main element of any meat," he said.

Dr. Mironov has spent the last 10 years trying to create lab-based or cultured meat; a product that he and fellow researcher Dr. Nick Genovese say will have huge benefits over factory farms.

"Consumption of conventionally produced meat is the leading cause of food poisoning. Cultured meat produced in septic conditions would not have had access to those pathogens to become contaminated," explained Dr. Genovese.

"You can save land, you can reduce global warming and you can eliminate infectious diseases like chicken flu, cow disease," explained Dr. Mironov.

Plus, Dr. Mironov says that the amount of fat in cultured meat can be adjusted for taste and better health.

"They can design specific taste, they can design texture. This product not only provides highly sophisticated, natural, nutritional protein, but will also reduce obesity," Dr. Mironov said.

Once the meat is ready for public consumption, it will no longer be produced in labs, but in larger facilities called "carneries."

"Just like wine is produced in a winery and bread is produced in a bakery. There are many products that we've eaten for centuries, such as beer and bread, and these are accepted, traditional products of biotechnology and this is taking this to the next step," Dr. Genovese said.

A step in the making that is currently funded by PETA.

"It is not a question of time; it's a question of money. If I don't have any money the answer is never, if I got 10 million dollars, the answer may be in five or 10 years," Dr. Mironov said.

Researchers at MUSC hope this new meat has a little Charleston flavor as they look to call it "Charlem," as in Charleston Engineered Meat.

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