An Israeli food technology startup company is using tobacco plants to help it create vegetarian hamburgers, reports The Jerusalem Post.
BioBetter has deployed tobacco plants as natural bioreactors to create the growth factors necessary for the cellular development of cultivated meat.
According to the firm, this development could significantly reduce the cost of cultured meat and help rapidly advance its commercialization. Cultured meat could eventually replace beef cows, which are a major factor in producing greenhouse gases and promoting hazardous global warming.
“World population growth and dwindling natural resources are going to put incredible strain on meat supply and the already fragile environment in the coming decades,” said BioBetter CEO Amit Yaari. “Cultivated meat offers a promising solution to these problems and can ensure a more resilient supply chain with better economic and environmental returns.”
In addition to addressing environmental challenges, the work will also create a new source of income for local tobacco farmers, who have suffered losses as cigarette consumption dwindles.
Boosted by a fresh injection of venture capital, BioBetter plans to scale up production in 2023 and commercialize its tobacco plant-derived, food-grade growth factor portfolio by 2024.