Eating meat is inefficient. With each step in the foodchain you lose anywhere between 50 to 90% of the energy. So as a human trying to be efficient you want to have the least steps between you and the meat you eat. A plant like grass has to be eaten by a vegetarian creature and then you can eat the creature. With each step in between the size of the area the plants grow in needs to be bigger to compensate for the losses.
In my language we have a plant that translates to “meat tomato”. Which gave me the idea: what if you could alter plants enough to grow fruits with actual meat in them? Yes the plant would need to spend some energy keeping that meat alive until the fruit is collected, but it would circumvent the need to be digested by an intermediary animal which uses energy to digest it and move around looking for food or even doing something like sleeping.
So my question: compared to a single animal eating your food first, how efficient could a literal meat plant be?
- the plant is a plant, only its fruit is meat (unless you can give a good reason for more of it to be meat). The fruit could have an outer plant-shell for protection if that helps keep the energy cost of keeping it alive down.
- I am not looking for alternatives to the meatplant. I do not need answers like “but growing X or Y would be more efficient” or “Z is already a good meat replacement”. These people want to grow meat, with plants. Not have meat replacements.
- you can express the efficiency in square area required to grow a certain amount of meat. Lets say 10kg of meat. You can use any other amount if that is easier so long as it can be transformed to an understandable square area to meat ratio.
- The intend is to grow a variety of meat types. However the any single type of meat that you can find data about will suffice, this in the interest of making it easier to find an answer.
- I assume that exact numbers will not be possible, a ballpark number is OK.