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Cultured Meat; Novel Breakthrough in Cellular Agriculture

Chander Mohan
Chander Mohan

By using the cellular agriculture technology, many products are obtained. Some of them are;

  1. Muufri (cultured milk )
  2. Clara foods (cultured egg white)
  3. Gelzen (cultured gelatin)
  4. Afineur (cultured coffee beans)
  5. Pembient (cultured rhino horn)

According to FAO, by 2050 it is estimated that world population may surpass 9 billion and meat demand rises 70% more than the today’s demand which is difficult to feed by using conventional or modern farming. So, the idea of cultured meat production was brought out to meet the world meat consumption demand. More importantly in a country like India slaughtering of cows is a major ethical issue in a country which is easily overcome by this budding technology.

Cultured meat is a meat produced by in-vitro cell culture of animal cells, instead of slaughtering of animals for eating purpose where its composition is manipulated selectively which also satisfies the needs of consumer by way of increasing its nutritional value.

In early 2000’s Jason Matheny was the first person to popularize the concept of cultured meat technology. It is described as Franken meat, in-vitro meat, lab grown, slaughter-free meat, vat grown, cultivated meat, cell based meat, synthetic meat and also clean meat whose basic principle lies in cellular agriculture.

Types of cultured meat

  1. Impossible meat- It is produced by inserting soybean gene into yeast which encodes heme protein.
  2. Super meat-It is for production of chicken meat by Israel.
  3. Memphis meat-It is a prototype of meatball by US startup.
  4. Mosa meat-It is cultured burger by Dutch start up.
  5. Others like Shojin meat, Balletic foods and Aleph farms are cultured meat of Japan,       California and Israel respectively.

Production methodology

         Cultured meat is produced by using stem cells from fat or muscle cells of an animal as explants. Stem cells are the basic structural and functional units for the development of tissues to form an animal. Firstly stem cells are cultured in a nutrient medium having carbohydrates and amino acids for its multiplication in a sterile lab environment. Later cells start developing into muscle tissues which takes around 2 months in self organizing technique and it can also be grown by using scaffold technology. This collective process leads to the cultured meat. Although cultured meat reflects similarity towards conventional meat in texture appearance and in nutritional status it lacks blood circulation among the tissues. Lot of research is being done in this aspect to perfectly match the conventional real meat.

     Presently it’s production cost is the major criteria. Companies like “Memphis meat, Aleph Farms, Higher Steaks, Mosa meat and Meatable” are trying to commercialize this product by way of reusing and recycling the products in laboratory or during down streaming.

 

Advantages of cultured meat

  1. Its eco-friendly as well as animal friendly (no slaughtering).
  2. Reduces the need for livestock which produces 96%greenhousegases, reduces the use of energy by 45%, land by 99%.
  3. Reduces the water usage. For production of 1kg of meat it requires 9000 litre of water in a conventional way against 94litre for cultured meat which is depicted in below figure.
  4. It is less fatty meat.
  5. It is having high quality protein, highly bioavailable zinc and iron, omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin B complex except folic acid.
  6. Good source of minerals like potassium, phosphorous, magnesium and calcium.
  7. Devoid of artificial growth hormones that are sometimes for vigorous growth of livestock.

 

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