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Conventional livestock agriculture, especially beef production, is a huge climate problem. It makes up 14.5% of global greenhouse gas emissions. 

But there’s good news: alternative proteins are hot. Brands like Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat rely on alternative proteins to replicate the taste and texture of conventional meat and dairy – but with drastically less carbon pollution.

Alternative proteins are starting to show up in fast food, fine dining and grocery stores. They’re garnering big-time investment, and they have the potential to shake up the conventional livestock industry. 

But the term alternative proteins includes a smorgasbord of technologies. What are they and how do they work? And where do we need research and development?

In this episode, Shayle talks to Dr. Liz Specht, vice president of science and technology at the Good Food Institute. Liz explains the three main pillars of alternative protein technology – plant-based proteins, microbial fermentation and cultivated (or lab-grown) meat. Shayle and Liz discuss the technical bottlenecks to production, like addressing the global shortage of bioreactors, developing new crops and deriving new cell lines. And they talk about designing alternative proteins that are tastier and healthier than their conventional counterparts. Plus, Liz recommends her favorite alternative meat to try this weekend. 

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