Cultivated Meat Production in a Nutshell
In the case of cultivated meat: muscle tissue is created using small cell samples from animals such as cows, pigs, or chickens. A tiny muscle biopsy (approximately the size of a pinhead) is taken. This routine procedure can be done under local anaesthetic, so that the animal does not feel any discomfort.
From this single sample, stem cells can be isolated and grown in a special environment. These cells replicate and replenish themselves to be used again and again. When cultured under the appropriate conditions, these stem cells can be induced to form muscle cells, called myocytes.
Myocytes can adhere to a 3-dimensional scaffold, allowing them to form a 3-dimensional structure. These myocytes can then be “exercised” causing them to fuse and grow, just as the muscles in your body grow when you exercise them. This can be done through electrical or mechanical stimulation and continues until the desired amount of tissue is available to be harvested. This process takes place inside a bioreactor, an instrument that's similar to a beer-brewing tank.
While protein synthesis is the current focus of most companies worldwide, there are many more factors to consider as part of an effort to increase consumer acceptance and reap the environmental and social benefits of cellular agriculture. Complementary research in areas such as manufacturing, transportation, and societal concerns, is integral to support biological and technological advancements in the field.