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 IFT right arrow

Microbial protein from solar power; Underestimating plastic presence in food

News about food science research, food companies, food regulations, and consumer/marketplace trends

Fueling a Healthy Lifestyle

AlixPartners 2021 Health and Wellness Survey and Hartman Group Health and Wellness Across the Globe report.

Fitting in Fats

An overview of where fats fit in the diet with a focus on healthy fats.

Regulatory hurdles for cell-based meat; Fermented foods lower inflammation

News about food science research, food companies, food regulations, and consumer/marketplace trends

Saluting IFT Division Competition Winners

Hundreds of research papers were submitted to compete in 2021 IFT Division oral competitions. The first-, second-, and third-place winners are as follows.

Latest News right arrow

A low-carb diet may lower the risk of blinding eye disease

Following a long-term diet that’s low in carbohydrates and high in fat and protein from vegetables may reduce the risk of the most common subtype of glaucoma, according to a study published in Eye-Nature.

FDA announces qualified health claim for cranberry products and urinary tract infections

The U.S. FDA has announced in a letter of enforcement discretion that it does not intend to object to the use of certain qualified health claims regarding consuming certain cranberry products and a reduced risk of recurrent urinary tract infection in healthy women.

Call to action for stronger, better-funded federal nutrition research

According to a group of research, policy, and government experts, the United States needs to strengthen and increase funding for federal nutrition research and improve cross-governmental coordination in order to accelerate discoveries, grow the economy, and—most importantly—improve public health, food/nutrition security, and population resilience.

U.S. Dietary Guidelines Committee recommends lowering added sugar consumption

The 2020 DGAC revisited the topic of added sugars and concluded that a more appropriate target to help mitigate cardiovascular disease and obesity is to lower the number to 6% of energy from added sugars for the 2020–2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

USDA releases the 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee’s final report

The U.S Department of Agriculture (USDA) has posted the 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee’s final scientific report, an objective review of the latest available science on specific nutrition topics.