Is it precise to slaughter an animal, just for the production of meat from it? Don’t we have another source of extracting meat rather than death-dealing an animal?
Yes, we do have one tremendous way of producing meat by humans. That’s called Cultured meat or In vitro meat.
Cultured meat production involves culturing of stem cells outside the food animal.
Culturing involves the extraction of cells from farm animals and transferring them into a suitable medium that contains nutrients, energy sources, growth factors, etc. required for growth and differentiation of stem cells into mature muscle cells within a bioreactor.
So, the ingredients/ equipment you need to have for the production of Invitro meat are-
- Cell lines
- Growth medium
1. Cell lines –
Cell lines are the first component of cellular agriculture. We generally call them to stem cells. And there are a few types of stem cells like Totipotent, Pluripotent, multipotent, and Unipotent; of which pluripotent stem cells would be the ideal one. Because those cells can create the various kinds of tissues found in meat.
- The most prominent cells used are Embryonic stem cells also known as Satellite cells because as they have proliferative potential. These Embryonic stem cells are subcategories of Pluripotent stem cells.
But due to ethical issues, Embryonic stem cells became controversial.
So, they are using an alternative way i.e multipotent stem cells are used for cultured meat production, as they give rise to muscle cell lineages.
2. Growth Medium–
After extracting the cell lines, nutrition is provided for the development of cells and converting them into tissues.
So, a growth medium is required for the cells to proliferate.
The culture/Growth medium consists of all necessary Carbohydrates, fats, proteins, and salts needed for the stem cells/cell lines to grow.
Once the cell consumes a sufficient amount of nutrients, it will divide and the population will increase exponentially.
This culture media should be frequently cleared out of the system and replaced. Because as the muscle fibers begin to contract, they generate lactic acid. Due to this accumulation of lactic acid, the environment of culture media becomes progressively more acidic and may lead to a fall in optimal pH range.
Therefore, cleaning of culture media is necessary.
We can also add additives, which supply additional growth factors. These can be added through the integration of Fetal Bovine Serum(FBS) or any animal-based serum.
Culture/ Growth medium
As the cells are grown in culture media, they need to have a proper configuration of meat so as to appear meat in structure. For this reason, scaffolds are used. These are the molds, meant to encourage the cells to organize into a large structure.
Extracellular matrix(ECM) is used, which influences the interaction. ECM is a 3-D mesh of lipoproteins, collagen, and enzymes responsible for transmitting mechanical and bio-chemical clues to the cell.
Cells placed in Scaffold
Now, the scaffolds are placed inside bioreactors, so that cell growth and specialization can occur. Bioreactors are large machines that expose the cells to a large variety of environmental factors.
Bioreactor used in Invitro meat production
Cultured meat production
Production of cultured Bacon
Various ways of Cultured meat production