VTT café synthétique

After meat, researchers invent the first in vitro coffee

Finnish researchers have just developed the world’s first in vitro coffee. A small revolution for the food industry.

After beef and chicken, Finnish researchers have just developed the whole thing first synthetic coffee. Designed by the teams of Heiko Rischer, head of plant biotechnology at VTT (Technical Research Center of Finland), this new kind of coffee is based on a technology similar to that already used for meat: after having taken cells plants on a coffee tree, the latter are then immersed in a culture environment conducive to their development. Once multiplied, these are then placed in a bioreactor to produce what is called biomass. It is only after the organic plant material has been dried and roasted that the final product is obtained.

A process ultimately not so far from existing and already well-established technologies, recalls Heiko Rischer in her official press release, since “The idea that coffee cells could be used to make coffee was already presented in the 1970s”.

Greener … and cheaper

If VTT has not yet established precisely the impact that this synthetic coffee could have on the international market, this new in vitro culture would be much less energy efficient than coffee classic, and would also have the advantage of requiring less human labor. More importantly, this new technology would drastically reduce deforestation associated with conventional cultivation.

The Finnish technical research center is not the only one to look into the question of plants in vitro. Unlike meat, synthetic cultivation is much simpler and less expensive, for an almost identical result. In the United States, some start-ups like Atomo and Compound go even further, since they are able to produce coffee molecules from recycled plant microorganisms, such as sunflower seed husks or watermelon seeds. , which are then chemically modified to obtain the taste of coffee.

Unlike start-ups already present on the market, the coffee produced by the VTT contains only coffee cells. Still at an experimental stage, it is currently not intended to be marketed.

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