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Researchers agree on lab grown meat plans

1 commentBy Nathan Gray , 08-Sep-2011
Last updated the 25-Jan-2012 at 09:17 GMT

Researchers agree on lab grown meat plans

An international group of scientists has taken a step closer to its goal of producing cultured meat by agreeing on important common positions about how to bring the research forward.

The expert panel met at a recent workshop to discuss the future of research in the area, in the process drawing up early agreed positions on some of the issues surrounding lab grown meat.

The scientists noted that many of the technological components needed to successfully culture meat are now in place, including a cell source that is possible to use, several alternative processes to turn these cells into muscle cells for meat, and nutrients free of animal components which can be produced from sunlight and carbon dioxide.

They added that a recent assessment of the ‘life cycle’ of cultured meat compared to traditionally produced meat shows the environmental benefits of cultured meat are very large.

The expert panel met at a recent workshop to discuss the future of research in the area, in the process drawing up early agreed positions on some of the issues surrounding lab grown meat.

The scientists noted that many of the technological components needed to successfully culture meat are now in place in, including a cell source that is possible to use, several alternative processes to turn these cells into muscle cells for meat, and nutrients free of animal components which can be produced from sunlight and carbon dioxide.

They added that a recent assessment of the ‘life cycle’ of cultured meat compared to traditionally produced meat shows the environmental benefits of cultured meat are very large.

Indeed, in a recent interview with FoodNavigator.com Professor Mark Post of Maastricht University, the Netherlands, said that as the global population grows to more than twice its current size by 2050, the use of cultured meat could become commonplace.

Sustainability?

He explained that currently production of meat uses a third of Earth’s land space, which is not sustainable if consumption is to increase as predicted.

“The herds of livestock would diminish tremendously – by a factor of one hundred thousand to a million,” said Post.

Further research by a team at Oxford University estimated that a switch to cultured meat production could reduce energy needs by between 35 and 60%, require 98% less land, and produce between 80 and 95% less greenhouse emissions.

Moving forward

The team of experts said that despite these obvious advantages to production of cultured meats, the area is still very poorly funded. As a result they also decided to form a community to try to attract more funding and to create a faster development in the area.

“We want to invite all stakeholders into discussions to tackle these issues and identify in which directions to go,” said Dr Julie Gold one of the researchers leading the workshop.

“To date, there are only limited dedicated research activities in cultured meat. To move forward, research activities have to increase substantially,” she added.

They said that many important decisions remain about how to proceed in the research and development in the area, and argued that now is the time to spread the discussion outside the research community.

1 comment (Comments are now closed)

No Cultured Meat

It is time scientists stopped working in isolation from others and started cross/pollinating.There is an irreplaceable place for animals in our environment in the overall view and this needs to be considered.Meat production and harvesting is essential to nature.

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Posted by donald moore
17 September 2011 | 07h03

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