Cultured Meat In a laboratory and without animal suffering | Cell agriculture.

In vitro and in a process that lasts four weeks, a special laboratory managed to reproduce flavor, texture and nutritional value of the original product.

Cell agriculture, artificially produced meat.
Cell agriculture, artificially produced meat.

Although it needs to be produced on a large scale, experts assured that "cell agriculture" would have an environmental advantage, since the cultivation of meat does not produce methane emissions.

  • The nutritional properties of synthetic meat do not vary from those contained in the muscle of the animal.

Cell agriculture

Artificially produced meat in a laboratory is not yet for sale - only 50 people are believed to have tried this innovation worldwide - but it is a matter that is already being taken into account by scientists and companies.

Cell agriculture, artificially produced meat 2.
Artificially produced meat in a laboratory is not yet for sale 2019.

Globally, in 2013, the Dutchman Mark Post, professor of Vascular Physiology at the University of Maastricht, introduced the first laboratory-grown meat burger at a cost of US$280,000.

In Argentina, the Craveri laboratory is a pioneer in research on food production, in its division of Bio Engineering in the Manufacture of Elaborates.

In July last year it was reported that German pharmaceutical giant Merck and the Swiss consortium Bell Food Group invested nearly 9 million USD in a Dutch company, Meuse Meat, which has an eye on the future of artificial meat production.

American companies Tyson Foods and Cargill Inc., as well as Google co-founder Sergey Brin, are already investing in the cultivation and development of cells from cattle, pigs and other livestock in huge bioreactors capable of growing them to levels of industrial use.

The main argument for cell agriculture.
The main argument for cell agriculture.

The main argument for cell agriculture is to answer population growth and food needs.

But what is cultured meat? 

The process begins with obtaining a small sample of muscle tissue from the live animal in a quick, harmless procedure under anesthesia. This "biopsy" is transported in a controlled culture medium to the laboratory.

In vitro, with nutrients and growth factors, the cells proliferate in the same way they would in the animal, to the point of multiplying that small sample millions of times. The resulting product is placed on a support that favors the natural tendency of the cells to contract, so that small rings of muscle tissue form.

"The technological possibility of doing this is there, what is missing is the scaling-up, that is, converting laboratory development into industrial", Dr. Federico Prada, UADE's director of the Biotechnology and Bioinformatics degree.

Among the advantages we can mention is that nutritional properties of synthetic meat would not vary from those contained in the muscle of the animal; what actually changes are the organoleptic properties, which is what is known as the perception of the person at the moment of eating it. 

And he detailed: "Eating muscle cells has another taste since it is a type of super lean meat, without fat; when we eat muscle we are not only eating muscle cells, we eat adipocytes (fat cells), blood, endothelium that are the walls with which the capillaries are covered, fibroblast, and so on. That is to say, when comparing cow cell with culture at nutritional level would be exactly the same, but not so in terms of taste.

production but also intends to care for the environment.

Likewise, if this could be escalated to the volumes of meat consumed today, it would have an environmental benefit, since the cultivation of this meat does not produce methane emissions, which is a very important greenhouse gas and is in the digestive system of cows.

is a biotechnological development and as such not only takes into account improving production but also intends to care for the environment. There is a tendency to see biotechnology as a technological leap that carries everything and it does not.

The textures and even the ideal flavors will be achieved. Even the nutritional value will be equal, with the possibility of regulating, for example, the amount of fat or incorporating vitamins and minerals.

We are projecting partnerships with chefs who can develop examples of commercial gastronomy. According to Laura Correa, head of the Bioengineering division of Laboratorio Craveri, Laura Correa, explained to Clarín newspaper, "the main argument of cell agriculture is to respond to population growth and its food needs, offering sustainable production from cell culture, which avoids animal slaughter".

According to information from the BBC, British scientists from the University of Bath (England) set out on a mission to produce meat grown in a laboratory, while the U.S. company Just assured that its chicken nuggets, made from cells extracted from live chicken feathers, will soon be in restaurants.

Cells proliferate in the same way they would in the animal

For example, if you want to produce pork, then you take a tissue sample, isolate the stem cells to grow new ones, and put them into a bioreactor. That way they spread massively, explained Nick Shorten, a graduate student at the University of Aberystwyth in Wales.

While laboratory-produced meat, with no animals slaughtered in between, can be attractive to animal advocates and those concerned about the environmental problems associated with livestock production, it remains to be seen whether people will want to eat it or not.

A survey in the UK revealed that 40% would not eat it, against 20% and the rest undecided. Price, taste and safety will have to meet people's expectations for the product to be consumed. In addition, farmed meat is not expected to be sold on a large scale in the next five years.

Although producing artificial meat means using less water and land, as well as lower carbon dioxide emissions and avoiding the suffering of millions of animals, perhaps the main challenge is to end the fallacy that natural things are good and all synthetic things are bad.