Could Lab-grown Plant Tissue Ease the Environmental Toll of Logging and Agriculture?
Published:24 Jan.2021    Source:Massachusetts Institute of Technology

It takes a lot to make a wooden table. Grow a tree, cut it down, transport it, mill it ... you get the point. It's a decades-long process. Luis Fernando Velásquez-García suggests a simpler solution: "If you want a table, then you should just grow a table."

Researchers in Velásquez-García's group have proposed a way to grow certain plant tissues, such as wood and fiber, in a lab. Still in its early stages, the idea is akin in some ways to cultured meat -- an opportunity to streamline the production of biomaterials. The team demonstrated the concept by growing structures made of wood-like cells from an initial sample of cells extracted from zinnia leaves.