Scientists create meat substitute ‘made out of air’

Rob Waugh
Would you eat meat made out of thin air? (Getty)

It sounds like the perfect diet food - meat, but it’s actually made out of thin air. 

But while it sounds like something out of Harry Potter, the company behind Air Protein is very serious. 

The technology uses microbes which ‘breathe in’ carbon dioxide to produce an ingredient which is 80% protein. 

The microbes produce vitamins such as B12, not normally found in vegan food - and it’s a ‘complete protein’, similar to those found in beef or chicken. 

The method is based on an idea from NASA, AIr Protein says. 


Incredible image of Mercury skimming the burning surface of the sun

NASA satellite captures incredible beauty of UK seen from space

Why Iran’s nuclear escalation goes unchallenged

Why cybersecurity should matter to your small business

It’s made using renewable energy, and as it uses up CO2, its makers point to its potential in the battle against climate change. 

Air Protein CEO, Dr. Lisa Dyson, says: “The world is embracing plant-based meat and we believe air-based meat is the next evolution of the sustainably-produced food movement that will serve as one of the solutions to feeding a growing population without putting a strain on natural resources.”

By 2050, the world will need to produce 56% more food than in 2010, to feed a predicted 9.8 billion people. 

If the level of meat and dairy consumption rises in line with current trends, 2.3 million square miles of forest will need to be converted for agriculture. 

Our system of producing food already accounts for between 25-30% of greenhouse gases, the Creating a Sustainable Food Future report warned. 

If the world requires millions of extra square miles for food production, it will clash with planned schemes to limit global warming, including so-called  'bioenergy with carbon capture and storage', or BECCS schemes. 

Limiting global warming to 1.5C would require 2.9 square million miles devoted to BECCS schemes, the researchers warned. 

A 2018 report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warned that the world is approaching a ‘tipping point’ from which there may be no going back. 

United Nations' climate chief Patricia Espinosa told government representatives and U.N. officials meeting in Bonn, Germany, they were falling far short of what was needed to reduce emissions by 45 percent by 2030 to limit global warming.