With the rise of cell culture technology, scientists have envisioned and invented a “artificial meat” technology, which is said to greatly increase meat production without causing excessive pressure on the ecological environment. So, what exactly is “artificial meat”?
The technical principle of “artificial meat”
“Artificial meat” uses cell culture technology in vitro. This technology has been invented, but its application to in vitro culture of poultry cells was successfully implemented in 2013.
In vitro cell culture technology refers to the removal of tissues or cells from a living body, placing them in a simulated physiological environment, and allowing them to survive and produce under aseptic, appropriate temperature and certain nutrient conditions.
Scientists use this technology to extract muscle tissue from animals, extract muscle cells and fat cells from them, and place their muscle cells in serum for culture. The serum is rich in nutrients required for the growth and division of muscle cells, such as amino acids, carbohydrates, vitamins, etc. The muscle cells use these nutrients to rapidly grow, divide, and connect into elongated filamentous substances in the serum. At this time, adding an appropriate amount of fat cells therein can crosslink the muscle cells with the fat cells to form a meat-like tissue, which is the “artificial meat” prepared by the in vitro cell culture technique.
The difference between “artificial meat” and ordinary meat
The form of “artificial meat” is not a common intact block, but is meat-like, so its cooking forms are mostly meat patties, meatballs, meat strips, and the like. In addition, its color and taste are much lighter than normal meat.
2. Nutritional ingredients
Since “artificial meat” is artificially cultivated, the nutrients are more controllable than ordinary meat. In the process of cultivation, people can control the fat content in the finished meat by controlling the amount of fat cells added, thereby cultivating the meat which is more suitable for various human needs.
In addition, people can control the efficacy of the finished meat by controlling the type of fat added. If the omega-3 fatty acid is used instead of the common fatty acid during the meat cultivation process, the health effect of the meat on the heart is better than ordinary. The meat is better.
The output of “artificial meat” is 39 times higher than that of the ordinary breeding industry. According to scientists, under ideal circumstances, through the “artificial meat” technology, 10,000 kilograms of “artificial beef” can be cultivated through only one small piece of beef tissue. According to the net slaughter rate of each cow at 45% to 50%, a beef cow with an estimated weight of 500 kg has a net meat weight of up to 250 kg, that is, to achieve the output of the “artificial meat” technology, at least 40 beef cattle.
Disadvantages of “artificial meat”
“Artificial meat” is limited by technology, and there are still some shortcomings. If it is to be developed on a large scale, it still needs some in-depth research.
The “artificial meat” currently cultivated, the unit price is as high as 4,800 US dollars / kg, far from the ordinary consumers can afford. There are two main factors contributing to the high cost of “artificial meat”: high raw material costs and low production. At present, the cells used for breeding are mostly fetal bovine serum, but the current price of fetal bovine serum is extremely high, resulting in a very high cost.
In addition, the cell division speed under the current cultivation technology is still not fast enough, and the ideal situation has not yet been reached, resulting in the production of “artificial meat” far from reaching the expected goal, thereby further increasing the cost.
2. There are difficulties in actual operation
The production process of “artificial meat” is a delicate cell culture. During the cultivation process, the cells have very precise requirements on the osmotic pressure, temperature, pH, and CO2 concentration in the environment, and the cell culture fluid is very susceptible to bacteria (such as Contamination of yeasts and molds leads to failure of product preparation. If such meat is consumed in the market, it is likely to cause food poisoning.
3. Practical supervision difficulties
As the “artificial meat” has just emerged, the division of the property by the relevant regulatory authorities is still unclear, and the existing regulations do not apply to “artificial meat”. Last November, the United States officially established a commercial regulatory framework for the manufacture of meat products in the laboratory, which is the first time in the world.