Well, it looks like it’s that day that all turkeys fear:
Are You thankful for something this year?
I can tell you turkeys are thankful for Tofurkey.
You herbivores out there are probably sick of getting looks from people
around the dinner table, and questions like “how can you EAT that?”
Looks like it’s on chemistry’s shoulders to make sure that fake meats meet
the standards of our carnivore masses,
and maybe give planet Earth something to be a little thankful for itself.
Today’s episode was sponsored by ACS Central Science.
By 2050 there’s going to be around 9.6 billion human stomachs to fill, and at
current consumption rates, we’ll need
an estimated 73% increase in livestock
to do it, according to a recent report.
Livestock currently produce about 15% of greenhouse gasses on the planet.
Also it’s been estimated that one pound
of beef can require up to 24,000
gallons of water to produce.
Long story short, with the way we’re
headed, meat production is anything but sustainable.
Some researchers believe that ending
beef production will reduce our
carbon footprint more than cutting out driving cars.
So, why not go fake?
Well, because the real thing just taste too darn good.
Meat gets its flavor from the thousands of molecules that are released
during muscle and fat cell destruction.
After slaughter, enzymes in meat tissue
break it down into simpler amino acids,
sugars, and fatty acids that create
a cocktail of delicious meaty flavor.
When cooked, the heat makes the sugars
and amino acids undergo the Maillard
reaction, which is to thank for a lot of the amazing meat smells.
An important part of red meat flavor is an oxygen
carrying protein called myoglobin.
When meat is cooked, myoglobin releases
an iron bearing compound called heme
that helps produce aromas and flavors specific to meats.
This iron in myoglobin is also what makes uncooked meat red
and cooked meat turn brown.
So if you want to get fake meat right,
you’ve got to cover these reactions and you’ve got
to nail meat’s soft, fibrous texture.
Take turkey’s imitation brother Tofurkey.
This like many other fake meats is made up of tofu or seitan.
Seitan is produced from gluten, the primary proteins found in wheat.
Yes, THAT gluten.
Another common substitute meat is
Texturized Vegetable Protein, or TVP for short.
While these products can have umami
flavors added to help them taste like
meat, they are just kind of spongy and don’t have the same mouth feel.
For this reason, new techniques have
emerged that help massage a meat-like texture into the plant proteins.
High-moisture extrusion is a process
that heats and twists a mix of water and powdered proteins on a screw.
As the proteins unfold, they start
aligning in the direction of the moving screw, and once cooled, maintain a
fibrous texture quite similar to meat.
New conditions are also being set up
to grow this style of fake meat using a plant version of myoglobin, to
improve both its taste and appearance.
But what if plant proteins are the wrong idea?
What if the best fake meats could be grown from cell cultures in the lab?
Back in 2013, a lab in the Netherlands
offered up a $325,000.00 burger grown from cow stem cells.
Well guess what, that same burger now costs a whopping $11.00.
While that was real meat, the lucky first tasters noticed the flavor
它的口感有些干瘦 那是因为它仅由肌肉细胞培养而来 没有任何脂肪
to be a little lean, as it was only muscle cells grown, and had no fats.
As this process becomes more economically
viable, and as labs work hard at tailoring
this style of fake meat to be more nutritious, it’s starting to look
like a series option for the future of fake meats.
One study even suggests that this process
of cellular agriculture could be significantly better for the
environment that growing cells in cows.
As for that Tofurkey on the table, look folks, it may not be good as the
real thing, but at least it’s a start.
We just wanted to say thanks to
ACS Central Science for making this video possible.
If you want to learn more about the future of fake meats,
check out their article “A Fresh Take on
Fake Meats, produced in collaboration with Chemical & Engineering News”
A link’s down in the description.
As for you thanksgiving gluttons,
check out this video on what happens
when you eat too much, also check out
this video to find out what chemical
compounds our friends over at Speaking of Chemistry are thankful for.
Hit the thumbs up button and subscribe on the way out.