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This Wood Grown in a Lab Could Cut Deforestation, With Furniture Made From Plant Cells


As if lab-grown meat weren’t a topic of interest, a group of MIT scientists are mapping out lab-grown wooden furniture.

Wood-like cells from zinnia leaves, MIT

The two projects are nearly identical, made by growing cells to divide and multiply in ways outside of their parent phylum, and the proof-of-concept study is a powerful first step toward finding alternatives to forestry.

According to Velásquez-García and his team, using a leaf from a zinnia, they were able to grow plant-like tissues selectively, free of unnecessary organs. The researchers described in their corresponding paper how plant cells respond well to “tuning” and that scalable, soilless cultivation of plant material such as wood for use in making furniture, for example, is quite possible, and even easier than others, scientists are doing it with cell-grown meat, the correct jargon for “lab-grown meat.”

“Despite the considerable early investment in resources (imagine the cost of purchasing, fueling and operating logging trucks and roads only), only a small fraction of the crop grown can be economically valuable at harvest.” to write the authors in their article, also pointing out that for the production of some natural fibers, only 2% to 4% of the harvested plant material will be used.

Freshly grown furniture

Aaron Burson

The strategy for cell culture trees, which are grown in the form of a rectangular tabletop or tabletop, is easier to scale and could be profitable much faster than cell culture meat, as the plants are simply easier to grow from it. way.

PLUS: This non-profit organization works hard to design new forests to cure the curse of the California wildfires.

Talking with Fast company, Ashley Beckwith, Ph.D. in engineering. student and co-author of the article, explains the inefficiencies of relying on forest trees for wood production.

“Trees grow on tall cylindrical poles and we rarely use tall cylindrical poles in industrial applications,” she says. “So you end up cutting back a lot of material that you spent 20 years growing and that ends up being a waste product.”

RELATED: From lemurs to birds, hear various forests around the world with this forest sound map

What if instead you could spend those 20 years growing only furniture or clothing, fibers and applicable shapes? Well, scientists haven’t yet grown a table from a Petri dish, but their work is an important proof of concept that, if widely adopted, could lead to huge reductions in CO2 emissions from various sources.

CHECK OUT: Previously vacant lot in Milan wins the contest ‘Reinventing cities’ with vineyard on top of a building with public sidewalk

These could include fueling and driving low-range heavy freight trucks on forest roads at low speeds, as well as fueling and manufacturing the vehicles to build the forest roads and the manufacturing plants that make both, as well as the vehicles to transport them. team there.

So one has to think about deforestation, one of the main contributors of CO2 emissions to the atmosphere, as carbon that would otherwise be released through Earth’s 1000-year carbon cycle is naturally uprooted. off the ground as trees are felled. Tree plantations could be allowed to age more naturally, returning more of the carbon cycle to a natural state and attracting more wildlife in return.

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