The meat will be grown from stem cells in specialized incubators.
Albert Rizvanov, Director of the KFU Center for Precision and Regenerative Medicine, emphasizes that the meat without antibiotic treatment can be safer, as well as ethically acceptable to consume for those who object to eating animal products. The first product from artificial horse meat is projected to appear in the next three years, and full-scale printed simulated meat – in five years.
Importantly, the process completely eliminates any harm to animals – the stem cells are harvested in an ethical way and then produced in artificial conditions.
“Apart from that, lab conditions simplify the control over the eco-friendliness of the end product. Even if animals are in free grazing, it's not guaranteed that their plant food is clean. It can be contaminated with vehicle exhaust from nearby roads, or by industrial pollution, or by herbicides. The lab helps eliminate such factors,” adds Rizvanov.
Cultivated meat may become a healthier alternative to agricultural produce. There are currently about three dozen such projects in the world, and the researchers are looking for the optimal medium to grow muscle components as fast as possible.
Notably, the fast-growing meat will not have the necessary organoleptic properties without fat, and our team has already tackled that issue as well. As a result, minced meat for further consumption can be produced.
“The resulting products will become barely distinguishable from natural meat. And they can be a healthier alternative at that. Thanks to the sterile conditions in incubators, there is no need to treat meat with antibiotics, which are actively used at farms.
“We can grow 100 grams of horse meat right now, but we also have to structure it properly, so it's not just a biomass. It has to reproduce the structure of real meat, and, to that end, we are currently working on bio-printing applications, i. e., we will print the meat in the same way as organs for medical purposes.”
The technology is poised tp produce a huge market for ethical consumption. However, as expected, the first specimens of such meat will be immensely more expensive that the natural product.
Source text: Natalia Doroshkevich
Translation: Yury Nurmeev