Scientists have built a prototype for a device that allows the public to grow plant cells for food in your own kitchen. Roselle Chen reports.
STORY: Growing food from plant cells in just a week could be the future of mealtimes. The concept is being developed at the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland and the team's first 3D-printed CellPod prototype is already producing harvests. The idea of growing plant cells in a bioreactor is not new. Plant cell cultures grown in laboratories have been used in cosmetics and for making pharmaceuticals for decades. But CellPod is different because it's designed for home use - and can yield a harvest within a week. SOUNDBITE (English) BIOLOGIST, LAURI REUTER, SAYING: "Instead of using the complete plant as food growing it on the field we're taking only a one part of it, only the cell culture and growing them in the bioreactor at home, so what it basically allows you to do is to grow your own food in your own kitchen and these are cell cultures that pretty much have the same nutritional values as the original plant would. In some cases they might be even better sources of some bioactive compounds." By only using seed culture, foods created in the CellPod resemble oatmeal or cereal rather than the actual plant it derived from. And the taste still needs some work. Researchers say some food tastes mild and rather neutral. The prototype aims to give meals a nutritional boost, rather than supplying an entire spread. CellPod's creators think they could have a product on the market within ten years.