Can fruit tissue be grown in a tissue culture as is done to other plant tissues? From the answer to this question, I learned that fruit is alive. Could it be possible to manufacture fruit products without plants, using this method?


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Plants are not a strong suit for me, but in general the answer is yes. What I know mostly comes from animal tissue, so someone may have a better answer than I...

Botanists have been cloning plants from cuttings for thousands of years. More recently, propagation from cell lines around for much longer than for animals. Entire plants can often be grown from a plate of cells. So you can grow roots or an entire plant from cells right now, but I can't find any mention of anyone trying to grow fruit without the rest of the plant, and there might not be any research for this. Let me explain why this may be...

Bioengineering animal tissue and organ growth has been an intensive area of research for the past 15 years or so. In some cases, such as the growth of skin or liver, the technology has proven to be exceptionally valuable and useful.

Using plastics with biological growth factors attached and 3D printing, even more complex organs such as bladders and tracheas can be grown from the patients own cells, which avoids the problems of rejection and the complexities of donor matching.

More recently growing muscle tissue in an animal free culture has been tried, which would relieve some of the environmental and ethical problems of raising meat animals.

All this has been driven by a strong cost-benefit payoff. A transplanted organ is highly valuable and improving that process and making organs more broadly available for patients has a high economic value. The more often the structure is related to the tissue around, the more structurally complex, the more difficult it is to imagine growing that organ independently of the host organism (brain and eyes come to mind). Other transplant worthy tissue cultures look quite promising.

Right now, it seems as if plant fruit like an apple or a kiwi might be difficult/expensive to grow in the lab as opposed to just picking them off the tree. I think that growing a banana pulp or an apple sauce might be possible, though. Who knows what we might be doing in 50 years or more though?


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