The concept of manufacturing meat might seem like a new and futuristic prospect, but it has a rather long history. The first experiment leading to the development of in-vitro meat was performed by Nobel Prize winning scientist Alexis Carrel
in 1912. Carrel took tissue culture from an embryonic chicken heart and placed it in a stoppered Pyrex flask of his own design and maintained the living culture for over 20 years with regular supplies of nutrient. His experiment aimed to prove that living cells could survive indefinitely under the right conditions. While the results of his experiments were never successfully repeated, the logic behind the experiment is the same as the logic behind modern attempts to grow meat in the lab.
A decades later after the experiment, Winston Churchill foresaw the massive potential for in vitro meat. In his 1931 article “Fifty Years Hence
” Churchill writes:
“We shall escape the absurdity of growing a whole chicken in order to eat the breast or wing, by growing these parts separately under a suitable medium”.
Good news is that just in two years, the cost of one burger has fallen from that $325,000 price tag to around $11 per piece in 2015. Potentially, the cost of meat could be reduced to an all-time low as the technology evolves.
One day — maybe not that long from now — we might be able to go to the store and buy meat that will be just like real beef — right down to the cellular level. 🤔
But is it a real meat?
Lab-grown meat. Cell-based meat. Cultured meat. Clean meat. It’s all the same thing: meat grown from produced by in vitro cultivation of animal cells, without the need to slaughter any animal.
The process is fairly simple and typically requires a few steps:
- First, scientists take a biopsy from animal muscle tissue, which contains myosatellite cells. These cells are the precursors to skeletal muscle cells—the kind comprising the meat we typically eat.
- The next step is to place them in a nutrient-rich medium that will feed the cells and allow them to divide and grow. Scientists then exercise the cells with electric currents so they become actual muscles and continue to gain mass.
- Lastly, the meat is harvested.
So to be clear here – clean meat isn’t an alternative to meat; it’s real, actual meat grown (or more accurately, brewed) from animal cells, as well as other clean animal products .
With an ever-growing global demand for meat and environmental concerns around sustaining current agricultural practices, cultured meat is a welcome and positive innovation that can revolutionize the food industry. The new method is cleaner, healthier, cheaper, and beneficial to the planet’s environment. 🌍