Astronauts will eat burgers made of recycled plastic

Researchers at a startup called Beehex are actively working on a way to turn plastic waste into edible biomass. For this, they use laboratory-grown bacteria that are trained to eat plastic. 

The food printing system will be very useful for astronauts of the future during the colonization of planets

According to the inventors, the entire food creation system will fit into a small container. On the one hand, crushed plastic waste will be collected, and then they will move to a bioreactor containing specific bacteria that will be able to process garbage into nutritious food. 

“So if you want to create steak out of plastic, the entire mechanism on one side of this container will be able to produce steak out of plastic- or chicken breasts,” Beehex said.

In fact, bacteria create a nutritious biomass, from which you can then “print” dishes, as on a conventional 3D printer. Such a system will be very useful to astronauts of the future during the colonization of planets both in our Solar System and in worlds far beyond its borders. Beehex employees say that their invention can be used to grow food in deep space not only from plastic, but also from ordinary waste after cooking.

The ‘container’ bioreactor for 3D-printed meals. Photo:

“If astronauts grow, for example, beets, then not all of its parts are suitable for consumption. Roots, leaves and other parts are usually thrown away. But this waste can also be collected and processed by bacteria into quite usable food,” explained the contractor Axios.

With the help of such a 3D food printer, astronauts could produce a wide range of food products, including alternative meats, vegetables, fruits, bread and even desserts.

But there are several problems in this system. It is unclear whether food made of plastic will be safe for consumption, as well as how delicious products from recycled waste will be. So far, Beehex notes one thing that bacteria are absolutely safe and do not cause diseases in people. And the rest still needs research, because the project is at the development stage.

The project is funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), one of the largest government organizations involved in innovation in the United States.

According to The Interesting Engineering

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