Hard candy

Špatná sázka na syntetickou biologii

LAS VEGAS – Las Vegas se zdá jako vhodné místo pro start riskantní korporátní hry, která může zničit živobytí milionů drobných zemědělců. Mezinárodní potravní konglomerát Cargill si začátkem tohoto měsíce vybral známý Strip v Las Vegas pro představení produktu, od něhož se očekává senzace: EverSweet, sladidlo vyrobené ze “stejných sladkých komponent, jako jsou ty ve stévii.“

Nicméně, navzdory závislosti Cargillu na stévii v jeho propagačních materiálech, neobsahuje EverSweet ani lísteček této rostliny. Nový produkt Cargillu je příkladem syntetické biologie, druh genetického inženýrství, které využívá modifikovaný organismus k výrobě směsí, které by nikdy přirozeně nevznikly. Co dělá chuť EverSweetu sladkou není stévie, ale sloučenina vyprodukovaná bioinženýrskými kvasnicemi.

Syntetická biologie je high-tech, ale také potenciálně “high-risk.“ I když přitahuje miliardy dolarů v investicích, je předmětem rostoucího mezinárodního zájmu. Cargill výmluvně nezdůrazňuje použití kontroverzní technologie; místo toho společnost popisuje EverSweet jako produkt “speciálně vyrobených pekařských kvasnic,“ jako kdyby šlo o recept používaný po století v bavorských vesnicích.

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