Scientists at Pennsylvania State University and the University of Alabama are experimenting with using Lego blocks to create useful technology for the burgeoning slaughter-free meat (also known as “lab-grown” or “cell-based” meat) industry. The researchers use Legos as building blocks for devices that use electricity to spin starches, derived from corn, into structures that can be used as support systems (or “scaffolding”) for growing animal cells—a necessary mechanism to grow muscle cells into three-dimensional meat. Gregory Ziegler, professor and director of graduate studies for the Department of Food Science at Penn State, explained that the team used Lego blocks as they are inexpensive and do not react with liquids used in the process. “The idea is we could make a nice edible, clean scaffold for our clean meat,” Ziegler said. Earlier this month, researchers at the University of Bath revealed that they successfully grew meat cells using blades of grass as scaffolding, a move that eliminates the animal from the equation by feeding grass directly to cells.

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