banner
Air-based meat from Air Protein
photo courtesy of Air Protein

Currently, it takes more than two years—as well as a great deal of land and water—to make a steak. And that process of raising a cow to make a steak also emits a lot of greenhouse gases, says Lisa Dyson, CEO and co-founder of Air Protein.

“If we want to grow food more efficiently and sustainably to feed our growing population, we need new technology to take us there,” Dyson says.

That’s why her company, Air Protein, has developed a method of making meat analogues out of carbon dioxide, Dyson says. Based on NASA ideas about how to grow food on board long journey spacecraft, Air Protein says its technology can create protein in a matter of hours and without the use of any arable land.

Fundamentally, the process of making air-based meat is similar to making yogurt. It begins with a starter culture in a fermentation vessel. Air Protein combines elements from the air, such as carbon dioxide, oxygen, and nitrogen, along with water and mineral nutrients. Using renewable energy and the company’s proprietary process, protein is produced. The final product is protein that is rich in all essential amino acids.

To give the air-based protein the texture and flavor of different types of meat—chicken, pork, or beef—Air Protein uses a combination of pressure, temperature, and culinary techniques. And it happens quickly: It takes months to take crops from seed to harvest to table, and livestock can take years before their meat is ready for consumption, but Air Protein’s process makes protein in just a few days.

Air Protein’s technology has the potential to make analogues of most types of meat. By harnessing renewable energy and a streamlined supply chain, Dyson says the process has the potential to be cheaper and faster than other alternatives. Both scalable and economical, “it is, we believe, the most resource efficient way to make protein,” she says.

The ability to make amino acid-rich proteins in a small space and in a short amount of time could be transformative for the world’s food supply. For instance, Dyson says an Air Protein farm the size of Walt Disney World can produce the same amount of protein as a traditional protein farm the size of the state of Texas. “This independence from arable land means that food can be made with minimal resources, day or night, rain or shine, and in any climate or in any geography,” she says. “This flexibility can make for a more resilient and secure food supply.”

More from IFTNEXT right arrow

Enzyme technology enables efficient PET recycling

France-based Carbios is developing the first biological technology to transform the end-of-life of plastics, says Martin Stephan, deputy CEO of Carbios.

Manipulating photosynthesis for food security

British scientists have gained new insights into the compound in plants that plays a vital role in the natural process through which plants grow.

New appliance refrigerates, stores, and cooks meals

Before the emergence of COVID-19 and stay-at-home orders, one of the biggest complaints of busy individuals was not having time to prepare and cook balanced meals. A new appliance shows promise in solving that problem—for those who can afford it.

How ripe is your produce? This sensor can tell you

Researchers at MIT have developed a sensor to monitor the plant hormone ethylene to determine when fruits and vegetables are about to spoil.

More from IFT right arrow

The Role of Metal in Food Packaging

A look at innovations in metal packaging with a focus on cans and pouches.

University Labs Support Industry Innovation

Universities are playing an essential role in the development of new foods and beverages that respond to changing consumer demands.

Robotic Automation Is Transforming Grocery Retail

Technology and robotics positioned to take grocery shopping to the next level.

Latest News right arrow

FAO predicts a global shortage of protein-rich foods

According to the Cornell Alliance for Science, a new report out from the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) of the United Nations predicts there will be a global shortage of protein-rich foods this year due to COVID-19 and other factors.

Motif FoodWorks collaborates to improve the sensory experience of plant-based foods

Motif FoodWorks has announced partnerships the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) to better understand and design the rheological properties of plant-based foods.

FAO partners to promote food security in vulnerable countries

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has been accredited as an implementing partner of the Adaptation Fund and will work with the international fund on projects to help vulnerable countries fight the harmful effects of climate change.

Preventing the next pandemic

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, a new report warns that further outbreaks will emerge unless governments take active measures to prevent other zoonotic diseases from crossing into the human population and sets out recommendations to prevent future pandemics.

Olam launches research award for innovations in food security

Olam International, in partnership with Agropolis Fondation, has launched the fourth biennial Olam Prize for Innovation in Food Security, an award seeking ground-breaking scientific research that can deliver transformational impacts within global agriculture.