Lab Grown Meat

Food is one of the three basic necessities of life. It is of different kinds depending on nutritional value, shape, and way of obtaining. The basic nutrients that are required for growth are proteins, fats, carbohydrates, minerals, and vitamins. Meat is among the foods that are taken in almost all parts of the world. 73% of meat-eaters use it in their daily diet and 14% use it occasionally or infrequently. Almost 25% of dietary intake is fulfilled by meat (William, 2012). Due to its nutritional value and popularity, it has driven the world towards farm management and livestock production. This trend harms the sustainability of the food system and therefore, the world is now moving towards producing cultured or in-vitro meat.

According to UN reports, food demand is expected to increase by 70%. Livestock has positive as well as negative impacts on the environment and humans. The positive impact is that we are getting milk, and meat from animals. On the other hand, almost 670 million tons of cereals are used for the rearing of the livestock per annum, which covers 1/3 of the total cereal production of the world. According to UNEP, if the food that is cultivated for the production of livestock is released for human consumption, it may be enough to meet the food requirements of 3.5 billion people of the world (Speedy, 2003).

Moreover, many diseases are related to animals and also have some environmental prospects. It also has an inverse effect on food security as the demand for food is increasing and production is less. Researchers are working to overcome this situation by the intervention of new foods that are rich in nutrition and economically available for all people. One of the interventions in food is the preparation of cultured or in-vitro meat also known as lab grown meat. Cultured meat is rich in nutrition as well as a substitute for livestock (Edelma, 2003).

Lab grown meat is produced for human consumption. Artificial or lab grown meat was prepared first in the 1930s. Fredrick Edwin Smith predicted that it will be possible to grow a desired juicy steak from one parent steak (Birkenhead and Smith, 1930). Two major techniques are there to produce artificial or lab meat. One of them is the biotechnological approach, which is based on cell culture or tissue culture engineering and the other one is the self-organizing technique (Edelman et al., 2005).

In the self-organizing practice, a nutrient medium is used to proliferate the organic culture (explant) from the muscle of the donor animal. Alex Carrel was the first person to introduce this method as he managed to keep the heart muscle of chicken beating and alive in a petri dish. He reported that suitable nutrients were used to attain this (Bhat and Bhat, 2011). The explants method is suitable for in vitro meat production systems (IMPS). The self-organizing technique will help in producing a 3D meat structure that resembles natural meat.

In the tissue engineering method, suitable stem cells are attained from different tissues. This technique is called a scaffold-based technique. The proliferation of suitable cells is carried on a carrier medium called a scaffold in the presence of a culture medium and this process is carried out in a bioreactor. This method of culturing results in the production of myofibers. These myofibers are harvested and processed. It is then consumed or its products are prepared (Bhat and Fayaz, 2011).

There are two proposals for cell culturing. In one, cells should be produced on spheres of collagen, where it becomes easy to differentiate them on bioreactor, while in the other it is proposed to grow cells on collagen network to refresh culture medium time to time (Bhat and Fayaz, 2011).

Natural meat is the source of saturated fats while in cultured meat, this composition can be changed by incorporating more omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids, which will decrease the chances of cardiovascular diseases (Williams, 2012). Lab meat is one of the innovations that can help the world to fight against food availability issues. This can also help to increase the availability of cereals as well as meat that will contain omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids instead of saturated fatty acids. The commercialization of cultured meat can be a revolution in the world.

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