Just below a yr in the past, one of many largest manufacturing services for classy meat opened in Israel. Future Meat Applied sciences’ Rehovot plant produces 500 kilograms of lab-grown meat per day (that’s equal to about 5,000 burger patties). Final week, plans for a good larger facility had been revealed, this one within the US. Its particular location has but to be finalized, however the venture will deliver cultured meat manufacturing to an unprecedented scale.
The bioreactors deliberate for the US facility might be over 40 toes tall and can maintain 250,000 liters (that’s 66,043 gallons) of meat. It is a large scale-up from present know-how; the identical producer that’s making the US gear, ABEC, can also be making a 6,000-liter bioreactor for a facility in Singapore, and when it goes on-line in 2023 it is going to be the most important of its form put in to this point. Multiplying that by greater than an element of 40, then—and ensuring the standard of the ultimate product remains to be the identical—might be no small feat.
The corporate behind the venture is California-based Good Meat. Although the corporate has been promoting its lab-grown rooster in Singapore since 2020, it’s nonetheless awaiting FDA approval to promote its merchandise within the US. That’s not stopping it from going forward with the bold plans for the brand new facility, although.
“The bioreactors might be far and away the biggest, not solely within the cultivated meat trade, however within the biopharma trade too,” mentioned Josh Tetrick, CEO of Good Meat’s guardian firm, Eat Simply. “So the design and engineering challenges are important, the capital investments are important, and the potential to take one other step towards shifting society away from slaughtered meat is critical.”
Cultured meat—to not be confused with plant-based meat—is grown from animal cells and is biologically the identical as meat that comes from an animal. The method begins with harvesting muscle cells from an animal, then feeding these cells a mix of vitamins and naturally-occurring progress components (or, as Good Meat’s course of specifies, amino acids, fat, and nutritional vitamins) in order that they multiply, differentiate, then develop to kind muscle tissue—in a lot the identical means muscle grows inside animals’ our bodies.
In keeping with Good Meat’s web site, they use cells from solely “the perfect” chickens and cows (what makes them the perfect isn’t spelled out), and punctiliously select cells most definitely to supply flavorful, sustainable meat. Moreover getting used as starters to develop edible meat in bioreactors, the cells are additionally “immortalized,” rising and dividing time and again; one rooster might presumably find yourself producing 1000’s of breasts.
“Cultivated meat issues as a result of it would allow us to eat meat with out all of the hurt, with out bulldozing forests, with out the necessity to slaughter an animal, with out the necessity to use antibiotics, with out accelerating zoonotic illnesses,” Tetrick mentioned.
Meat may be “harvested” (their phrase, not mine) simply 4 to 6 weeks after initiating the expansion course of—however it’s not a matter of plucking a ready-to-package breast from a vat and delivery it off to the grocery retailer. Moreover going via security and regulatory critiques, the harvested cells have to be become one thing resembling conventional meat—that’s, a rooster breast that got here from a beforehand dwelling rooster. Good Meat says it makes use of 3D printing, extrusion cooking, and molding to refine the form and texture of the product.
This all begins to sound a little bit Franken-meaty, however the firm emphasizes that its merchandise have dietary profiles similar to these of conventionally-raised meat. Just a few of the “last codecs” the meat is available in embrace rooster nugget bites, sausages, shredded rooster, and rooster breasts.
It’s going to take a very long time for manufacturing facility farming to cease being a factor, however as cultured meat continues to change into extra scalable, that day may very well be on the horizon. Tetrick thinks it’ll occur inside his technology’s lifetime. “I believe our grandchildren are going to ask us about why we ate meat from slaughtered animals again in 2022,” he mentioned.
Good Meat is anticipated to finalize the placement of its US plant earlier than summer season’s finish, they usually’re aiming for home manufacturing to start out by late 2024.
Picture Credit score: Good Meat