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"The point sticks in your head: physics rules. Virtue does not triumph unless the physics allows it."
- Larry Niven

Yeast Steak  
  Growing custom strains of yeast as food.  

...These strains of yeast have each their peculiar properties. The beef steak you thought you ate today was yeast. The frozen fruit confection you had for dessert was iced yeast. We have filtered yeast juice with the taste, appearance, and all the food value of milk.

It is flavor, more than anything else, you see, that makes yeast feeding popular and for the sake of flavor we have developed artificial, domesticated strains that can no longer support themselves on a diet of salts and sugar. One needs biotin; another needs pteroylglutamic acid; still others need seventeen different amino acids...

From The Evitable Conflict, by Isaac Asimov.
Published by Astounding Science Fiction in 1950
Additional resources -

Compare to scop from Bruce Sterling's 1988 novel Islands in the Net and the yeast-beast machine from David Brin's 1994 novel Natulife and crop algae from James Blish's 1957 novel Cities in Flight. And don't forget protine from Philip K. Dick's 1955 novel Solar Lottery.

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