WEIRD AND WILD
Researchers Create Lab-Grown Wood
MIT researchers are hopingto quickly produce in a lab what would take decades to grow in nature: wood.
The researchers have already grown wood-like plant tissue fromcells extracted from the leaves of a zinnia plant, without soil orsunlight.
With the ability to “tune” the plant cells into whatever shape theydecide, they could use this process to grow more efficient materials.
The study author said, “Trees grow in tall cylindrical poles, and werarely use tall cylindrical poles in industrial applications. So you end upshaving off a bunch of material that you spent 20 years growing and that endsup being a waste product.”
She said, their idea is to grow structures that are more practical,like rectangular boards or eventually an entire table that doesn’t need to beassembled.
The idea is similar to lab-grown meat, which eliminates the need toraise an entire animal. Plant cell cultures are easier to grow than animal cellcultures, but the work is still in its very early stages.