What do you think of when you hear the term "in vitro"? The first thing would probably be in vitro fertilization and test tube babies. What if we told you scientists at a nonprofit research consortium called New Harvest are using this "in vitro" method to develop new meat substitutes. Their hope is that these new discoveries and advancements would reduce the need for farm animals, slow the spread of avian influenza, and reduce the meat industries already-enormous environmental footprint.

This method would also allow researchers to manipulate the nutritional content of in vitro meat and keep it free of any and all harmful bacteria. According to Jason Matheny, New Harvest co-founder and doctoral student in public health at Johns Hopkins University, "You could replace the bad fats with good fats. You could have a hamburger that has the fat profile of salmon or an avocado."

This idea started when NASA called for scientific research to develop new food for astronauts. Thinking they would receive numerous "how to grow vegetable in space," they were surprised at one discovery. A group of biologists extraced live skeletal muscle from a goldfish and watched it grow as it soaked in a nutrient-rich serum. New Harvest learned of this and is now advocating the use of lab-grown fish, chicken, and pork.

Whether or not you deem this method of meat-substitute development ethical, it cannot be denied the environmental impact and the health benefits it can have. Though the "meat" cannot yet be officially taste-tested, New Harvest is confident the world will grab hold of this concept, ensuring a greener and healthier future for the world.

Read more about New Harvest here : http://www.new-harvest.org/