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What's behind the lab grown meat craze?

Giraffe

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I am really wondering what this lab grown meat story is about. This post is not offering answers. It looks like it's not about ensuring the food supply.

When Bill Gates says the rich countries should be eating '100% synthetic beef' he means we should get used to vegan fake beef.

The cell-cultured stuff is not economical, and it can't be scaled up to a point where you could feed a population. The thought of eating it is disgusting. So why do people invest in that technology? What for?

When you start researching the topic you have to muddle through a lot of propaganda. They say for example that you need 15,000 l water to produce a kilogram of beef, but most of the time they do not mention that 95% is for the plants the cows eat. 15,000 l is approximately the amount of rain that falls on 20 square meter per year. It's not the same as using 15,000 l tap water. They talk about land use, but do not mention that at least half of that land can't be used as cropland. And then those bogus climate change arguments.

Here are two articles that are worth reading if you want to know more about cultured meat.

Cultured Meat Will Not Be Realistic Anytime Soon: The Numbers Behind the Hype

"The main problem with cells is that they don’t scale well outside of organisms. It’s easy to grow cattle, you just feed them. In cells, once you try to move from a petri plate to a 1 liter bioreactor to a 100 liter bioreactor to a 1,000 liter bioreactor things become exponentially more difficult each step. Making lots of meat cells is so much harder than making just a little meat cells."

"Cultured Meat Needs Antibiotics -- Yeah, remember when people told you that these cells are antibiotic and growth horomone free, weeelllll they lied."

"Cultured Meat is Not Vegan -- To grow the cells at more than a snail’s pace you need to use FBS. FBS is Fetal Bovine Serum, literally, the filtered non-red/white blood cell part of blood from fetal cows! This is pretty far from vegan. The reason fetal serum is used is because it contains all the growth factors that are needed and fetal cows don’t have all the immunological parts that would cause them to kill or inhibit the cells you are trying to grow."


Review: Analysis of the process and drivers for cellular meat production

"Traditionally stem cells are cultivated in a medium containing nutrients and foetal, or calf, bovine serum, and the precise composition of this serum is not defined (Burton et al., 2000). Attempts have been made to synthesise serum-free growth media from mushrooms, algae and plants, but there has been limited success with these synthetic growth media (Datar and Betti, 2010; Stephens et al., 2018). In vitro cell culture is usually conducted in an aseptic environment, due to risk of contamination which can result in bacterial contamination and cell death (Sanders, 2012; Phelan and May, 2015). Cellular meat production requires a preservative, such as sodium benzoate, added to the growth media, to protect the growing cells from yeast and fungus. Sodium benzoate is a common preservative added to processed meat products (Hoang and Vu, 2016). Furthermore, antibiotics are often added to the growth media of cells in long-term culture to prevent any infection from bacteria (Burton et al., 2000, Renzini et al., 2018, Stephens et al., 2018). Patents for industrial production of cell-based meat state that the process will be achieved without antibiotics (or hormones) (Van Eelen, 2007). It remains to be seen whether antibiotics, or anti-bacterials, will be routinely or occasionally required during muscle cell culture."

"Nutrients predicted to be in cell-based meat. In order for cell-based meat products to supplement meat from animals, they will need to either replicate or increase bio-availability and levels of the nutrients referred to earlier. [...] Vitamin B12 needs to be added to the culture medium in order for the cell-based meat to contain this vitamin. In general, the nutritional composition of the cellular meat will be dependent on the nutrients added to the growth medium during production, unless these can be added as fortifications to the product (see decision point 4 in Figure 3)."

"The resources used and GHGEs from production of 1 kg of ready-to-eat product have been modelled for comparison across dairy-protein, chicken meat, cell-based meat and other forms of protein, including traditional (soya, wheat) and novel forms (insect-protein, myco-protein) (Smetana et al., 2015). Cell-based meat production was predicted to require 2 to 10 times the amount of energy, vastly more tap water and have moderate-to-low requirements for transport (Table 1). The GHGEs from cell-based meat production were predicted to be much higher than for the other protein types by Smetana et al. (2015), but others predicted much lower GHGEs from cell-based meat, which were comparable to the levels for other protein production systems. Cell-based meat production also had much higher predicted non-renewable energy usage than the other protein production systems in the modelling of Smetana et al. (2015), and in this case, the comparisons across protein types by other authors were extremely variable."

"Alternatively, maybe the upscaling and costs of production and technology development will not be sufficient for the price to drop substantially, and this high-tech food will remain at best an exclusive gastronomic, molecular cuisine (Banis, 2018)."
 
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Rick K

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The whole point of this project has nothing to do with vegan but with the treatment and slaughter of animals. There are a great many people who don't eat meat because they are against killing sentient creatures. The lab meat thing can, possibly, provide a meat supply without the need to kill any creatures if, of course, it can be scaled up.
 

mrchibbs

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The whole point of this project has nothing to do with vegan but with the treatment and slaughter of animals. There are a great many people who don't eat meat because they are against killing sentient creatures. The lab meat thing can, possibly, provide a meat supply without the need to kill any creatures if, of course, it can be scaled up.

I agree. I believe this is much of the incentive. I can't say I feel good about the mass slaughter of animals.

I still eat meat but at some level I'm not completely fine about it.
 

ballomar

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Apr 5, 2014
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I am really wondering what this lab grown meat story is about. This post is not offering answers. It looks like it's not about ensuring the food supply.

When Bill Gates says the rich countries should be eating '100% synthetic beef' he means we should get used to vegan fake beef.

The cell-cultured stuff is not economical, and it can't be scaled up to a point where you could feed a population. The thought of eating it is disgusting. So why do people invest in that technology? What for?

Money and power.

In particular, it's because of intellectual property. As you write, fake meat takes factories to produce. Only those with the rights to the IP will be allowed to make it, in the same way those who control the IP rights to Windows control almost all computers.

That means those who have the rights to make fake meat will have total pricing power and can control the food supply charging whatever they want for it.
 

Giraffe

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This article was published recently in Nature.

Will cell-based meat ever be a dinner staple?
Laboratory-grown meat has been stuck in the experimental stage. For it to become a commercially viable industry, tissue needs to be grown efficiently at scale.


"Experts say that many cultivated-meat companies will probably over-promise and under-deliver. But academic science can help “keep credibility alive,” says Johannes le Coutre, who led a research group at the Swiss food giant Nestlé before joining the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia, in 2019 to run a lab dedicated to cellular agriculture."

"He inserted three genes into cow muscle cells. Each encoded an enzyme involved in the synthesis of an antioxidant that mitigates diseases associated with consuming red and processed meats, such as colon cancer. The enzymes might also help with the manufacture of cultured meat, because the unstable molecules that antioxidants attack reduce the proliferation of some lab-grown cells. If consumers are willing to accept these types of DNA enhancement, “genetic and metabolic engineering can offer a lot of impact and benefit to cultured meat”, Stout says, “and could even allow us to create novel foods that we couldn’t get any other way”."

"Other researchers are reconsidering whether the cells that go into cultivated-meat products need to come from species that are already commonly consumed in Western cultures. For example, Natalie Rubio, another Tufts graduate student, has explored growing meat from insect cells to create products that can be designed to taste like crab, prawns and other seafood. Using muscle cells from fruit flies (Drosophila melanogaster) and the caterpillar of the moth Manduca sexta, Rubio showed that insect cells are easier and cheaper to grow than cells from conventional livestock species, and might also have nutritional advantages."

"Regardless of the starting material, all cells will require an optimized growth medium — the rich broth of chemicals and proteins needed to support proliferation and differentiation. Companies have already devised ways to eliminate the nutrient-rich fetal bovine blood that is the cornerstone of most in vitro culture media, creating the slaughter-free products that the industry demands. But this serum-free media is too expensive for cultivated meat to be affordable on the supermarket shelves. “It’s difficult to find a cost-efficient option,” says Ka Yi Ling, chief scientific officer at Shiok Meats, a cell-based seafood company in Singapore."

"With so many scientific issues to resolve, cell-based meat research, whether in academic or private labs, remains at the experimental stage. For commercial viability, the industry will need to find ways to produce tissue at a massive, and unprecedented, scale. Tissue engineer Che Connon at Newcastle University, UK, estimates that feeding the world’s population with lab-grown meat would necessitate building systems for growing on the order of a septillion (1024) cells annually, something that is not possible with the types of batch bioprocessing techniques currently used in mammalian-cell-based manufacturing. Global capacity could fulfil about one-billionth of that requirement. “It’s a massive limiting factor,” says Connon, who has developed a type of continuous cell-bioreactor platform that he plans to commercialize through a spin-off company called CellulaREvolution."

"Block’s group, with its large NSF grant, isn’t even attempting to work on bioreactor designs; there is plenty to keep his team busy tackling the issues of cell lines, media and scaffolds, as well as conducting feasibility assessments of the cell-based meat industry. “To me,” says Block, “it’s not clear yet that this is going to be a viable alternative” — whether from a technical, economic or sustainable standpoint. But with each new grant or research team entering the field, the goal of a perfectly grilled, medium-rare steak grown from cells gets a little closer to becoming a reality."
 
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Giraffe

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The whole point of this project has nothing to do with vegan but with the treatment and slaughter of animals.
The 'synthetic beef' Bill Gates talks about when he says the rich nations will get used to its taste is vegan fake meat.
 

Perry Staltic

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I laugh when I see all of the new fake meat stuff in grocery stores. Never looks like anyone's buying it. I used to like to eat fake meat when it was made with wheat gluten or soy (eg Tofurky), but I won't touch this highly adulterated GMO crap.
 

meatbag

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Money and power.

In particular, it's because of intellectual property. As you write, fake meat takes factories to produce. Only those with the rights to the IP will be allowed to make it, in the same way those who control the IP rights to Windows control almost all computers.

That means those who have the rights to make fake meat will have total pricing power and can control the food supply charging whatever they want for it.
:+1
Against Intellectual Monopoly
 

peateats1

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The whole point of this project has nothing to do with vegan but with the treatment and slaughter of animals. There are a great many people who don't eat meat because they are against killing sentient creatures. The lab meat thing can, possibly, provide a meat supply without the need to kill any creatures if, of course, it can be scaled up.
The problem with this theory is that the people who are creating/investing in this crap aren't above murdering infants, so I'm not sure their issue is with killing sentient beings.
 

GAF

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The "virus" will move into the meat animal food chain and require the mass slaughter of the meat supply in the world to protect the people from catching a cold.

People will believe this nonsense and eat synthetic meat forever.

Predicting the future is so easy these days.
 

meatbag

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The "virus" will move into the meat animal food chain and require the mass slaughter of the meat supply in the world to protect the people from catching a cold.

People will believe this nonsense and eat synthetic meat forever.

Predicting the future is so easy these days.
Neil Ferguson, of Imperial College, already used his modeling methods to have the UK government unjustifiably put down animals for 'foot-and-mouth' disease
Mass culling for foot-and-mouth 'may be unnecessary'

He's also involved in the lockdown modeling b.s.
China and Imperial College London
 

Broken man

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The whole point of this project has nothing to do with vegan but with the treatment and slaughter of animals. There are a great many people who don't eat meat because they are against killing sentient creatures. The lab meat thing can, possibly, provide a meat supply without the need to kill any creatures if, of course, it can be scaled up.
It can be done better but still meat is best nutrition for men.
 

Giraffe

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Neil Ferguson, of Imperial College, already used his modeling methods to have the UK government unjustifiably put down animals for 'foot-and-mouth' disease
Mass culling for foot-and-mouth 'may be unnecessary'

He's also involved in the lockdown modeling b.s.
China and Imperial College London
You can add mad cow disease to the list ...
BSE-infected sheep a 'greater risk' to humans

and bird flu ...
Bird flu pandemic 'could kill 150m'

and swine flu.
Swine flu could affect third of world's population, says study
 
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Giraffe

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The "virus" will move into the meat animal food chain and require the mass slaughter of the meat supply in the world to protect the people from catching a cold.
+1

People will believe this nonsense and eat synthetic meat forever.

Predicting the future is so easy these days.
Cell-based meat will not be an alternative any time soon.
 

tara

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There are too many people on the Earth for everyone to be eating beef and lamb every day. The land, water and atmosphere can't support it.
Beef is so cheap because the producers, consumers and middle-agents are not paying for the externalities, and in some places are being subsidised (grain subsidies for feeding industrial animal farming).
The externalities include the effect on the environment, including the atmosphere and climate, as well as water quality etc, deforestation, etc, depending on where and how it's grown.

I am not arguing for large scale cellular 'meats'.
There are limits to how much real meat one can eat without exceeding one's share on a finite planet.
 

Giraffe

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There are too many people on the Earth for everyone to be eating beef and lamb every day. The land, water and atmosphere can't support it.
Beef is so cheap because the producers, consumers and middle-agents are not paying for the externalities, and in some places are being subsidised (grain subsidies for feeding industrial animal farming).
The externalities include the effect on the environment, including the atmosphere and climate, as well as water quality etc, deforestation, etc, depending on where and how it's grown.

I am not arguing for large scale cellular 'meats'.
There are limits to how much real meat one can eat without exceeding one's share on a finite planet.
:offtopic
 

tara

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The topic title was "What's behind the lab grown meat craze".
My comment is a pretty direct, though partial, response to this topic, because this kind of perspective motivates many people to look for alternatives to eating meat, and some of them are interested in lab-grown alternatives.
Others upthread mentioned other motivations.
 

Giraffe

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The topic title was "What's behind the lab grown meat craze".
My comment is a pretty direct, though partial, response to this topic, because this kind of perspective motivates many people to look for alternatives to eating meat, and some of them are interested in lab-grown alternatives.
Others upthread mentioned other motivations.
So you were answering to title and didn't bother to read the original post. Thank you so much for your in depth contribution.

Lab-grown meat is no alternative to meat, from no standpoint.
 

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