Late last week, an international group of scientists took a step closer to their goal to produce cultured meat. They agreed on important common positions about how to bring the research forward during a workshop in Gothenburg, Sweden, arranged by Chalmers University of Technology and the European Science Foundation.
Many technology components are now coming into place in order to realise the concept of cultured meat. This includes 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. In addition, a life cycle assessment of cultured meat compared to traditionally produced meat was recently published. It shows that the environmental benefits of cultured meat are very large. For example, compared to the rearing of cattle, cultured meat would entail dramatic reductions of greenhouse gas emissions, land use and water use.
Despite these obvious advantages, the area is still very poorly funded. The interdisciplinary group of scientists has decided to form a community to try to attract more funding and to create a faster development in the area of cultured meat. During the workshop last week, they also reached consensus about important issues in the research field. For instance, the nutrients for growing the cells for meat must be produced with renewable energy and without animal products. The best source for this is to use a photosynthetic organism, such as blue-green algae