Soybean plants that produce beans rich in pig protein could be a less expensive alternative to lab-grown meat, claims British startup Moolec. The company claims to have added pig genes to the genome of conventional soybean plants, resulting in a quarter of the proteins in these beans being pig proteins – 26.6%. The flesh of soybeans also has a pink color similar to pork.
Moolec has developed a unique platform for expressing high-value proteins in the seeds of economically important crops such as soybeans. This discovery could set a precedent for the entire scientific community that is striving to achieve high protein expression in seeds through molecular farming.
However, at this point there is no information on when products containing proteins from soybean plants might become available to consumers.
The potential of using pork protein-producing soybean plants as an alternative to lab-grown meat is of great interest to scientists and experts. They see this as an opportunity to solve several problems related to meat production and consumption.
The environmental problems associated with meat production are one of the main reasons for the interest in alternative sources of protein. Meat production requires large amounts of land, water, and energy and is a major source of greenhouse gas emissions. Growing plants that produce protein can greatly reduce the negative impact on the environment.
In addition, using soybean plants that produce pig protein can help address ethical concerns related to livestock production. Many people express their concerns about animal abuse and conditions on farms. Alternative sources of protein may offer a solution that does not require animal sacrifice.
However, despite all the potential benefits of using soybean plants that produce pork protein, there are some challenges to overcome. One of them is cost. At the moment, lab-grown meat and other alternative products are quite expensive, making them unaffordable for the general consumer.
However, Moolec claims that their molecular farming technology can help lower the cost of producing soybean plants that produce pork protein. The details of this technology are a trade secret, but the company says that each protein is chosen to add value in terms of taste, texture and nutritional value.
If Moolec can actually lower production costs and achieve commercial success with Piggy Sooy, it could be a breakthrough in alternative protein sources. It could also be an incentive for other companies and research groups to develop similar products.