Creating artificial meat would also use 7-45 per cent less energy than raising the same amount of animal flesh, and use 1 cent of the land and 4 per cent of the water.
Scientists from Amsterdam and Oxford universities collaborated on the research, which offers hope for feeding a world addicted to meat but destroying the planet in the process.
Meat consumption is on the rise in rapidly industrialising countries whose increasingly affluent middle classes are adopting protein-rich western diets.
Given its phenomenally low carbon cost – not to mention the countless animals saved from the slaughterhouse – meat engineered under laboratory conditions holds out the promise of cheap nutrition for a fraction of the environmental cost.
“The environmental impacts of cultured meat could be substantially lower than those of meat produced in the conventional way,” said research leader Hanna Tuomisto of Oxford University. “Our research shows that [it] could be part of the solution to feeding the world’s growing population and at the same time cutting emissions and saving both energy and water.
“Simply put, cultured meat is, potentially, a much more efficient and environmentally friendly way of putting meat on the table.”
The first commercial cultured “mincemeat” equivalent is likely to be available within five years, Tuomisto said, with “steaks” available within the decade with enough funding – PETA has already donated money for research.
The research was funded by New Harvest, a not-for-profit research organising looking to develop alternatives to livestock farming for meat.