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  • Writer's pictureDakila News

Cultural Meat: What Is It and How Is It Produced?

First introduced in 2013 in London, "lab-grown meat" is produced from animal cells that grow in the laboratory without the need for the actual animal. This process begins with the collection of cells from cattle or chickens, obtained through a biopsy or the extraction of cells from a fertilized egg.


The critical aspect of this stage is that stem cells, satellite cells, or even "immortalized" cells are collected. Unlike the latter, stem and satellite cells have a reproduction limit, typically ranging from 30 to 50 times. Following the collection, these cells are directed to bioreactors, which are tanks filled with various amino acids and nutrients where cell multiplication occurs, yielding pieces of meat.


The major hurdle in this method is the high cost of cultivation. According to studies, this meat can be up to eight times more expensive to produce. Consequently, SciFiFoods has opted to modify the DNA of beef using the CRISPR technique.

Biologist Kasia Gora, co-founder and technical director of the company, states, "We do not reveal which genes we alter. However, we can disclose that the modifications generally involve small adjustments to increase the efficiency of cell growth within the bioreactor."


Through genetic alterations, the team has been able to eliminate costly ingredients from the equation, thus reducing production costs. Gora further points out that it would be challenging to make this process more affordable without the use of CRISPR. This technique involves the use of enzymes from bacteria to precisely cut and alter genetic sequences.


(Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats - Repetições Palindrômicas Curtas Agrupadas Regularmente Interespaçadas)

Researchers such as David Kaplan, director of the Tufts University Center for Cellular Agriculture, believe that one of the advantages of cultured meat is its potential to be produced anywhere, reducing the food importation rate in some countries.


Other researchers, like Marco Springmann, an environmental scientist at the University of Oxford, note that the amount of energy required for this process has a carbon footprint five times higher than chicken production.


Regardless of the benefits and drawbacks of cultured meat, the US Department of Agriculture has granted production and sale rights for lab-grown chicken meat to two companies: UpsideFoods and GoodMeat. This achievement has placed the country just behind Singapore, which was the first to legalize cultured meat.


References (in portuguese):

Empresa cria carne geneticamente modificada | Super (abril.com.br)

Carne criada em laboratório: Estaremos preparados para ela? (nationalgeographic.pt)

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