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· This Biotech Makes Animal Meat Substitutes from Crops Using Fungi
· Is lab-grown meat the next frontier in ethical eating?
This Biotech Makes Animal Meat Substitutes from Crops Using Fungi
Jonathan Smith, Labiotech.eu (EU)
Mission: To turn plant sugars into proteins using fungi, which could help to feed the growing world’s population more sustainably than traditional agriculture. Moreover, 3F BIO aims to use the waste products from its fermentation process to make ethanol, reducing waste to zero.
The worldwide demand for meat is ever increasing thanks to the growing world population, and increased prosperity in developing countries such as China and Brazil. The livestock industry is expanding to cope with the demand and global meat production is expected to hit 376 million tons by 2030. However, producing meat through traditional farming requires huge amounts of water and feed. This creates a need for protein alternatives that can meet the growing demand more efficiently.
3F BIO is developing a method to produce an efficient alternative for animal protein. The company takes sugars from food crops such as maize and wheat, and feeds them to an undisclosed species of fungi to grow a protein-rich ingredient called Abunda mycoprotein. According to 3F BIO, the process uses over 90% less feed and water than beef production, and over 50% less than chicken meat. When Abunda mycoprotein launches, 3F BIO plans to sell it as a protein ingredient for client companies to add to their meat substitute products.
According to the CEO of 3F BIO, Jim Laird, the company chose to make mycoprotein rather than other types of protein because mycoprotein is already a common ingredient in popular meat substitute foods. “This is because of its natural meaty texture which is due to the combination of both high quality protein and fibre,” he told me.
3F BIO is part of a pan-European project to get this technology off the ground, along with other companies including the Dutch Mosa Meat, which grows meat from animal cells in the lab. The technology is currently at the pilot scale, and the partners aim to construct an industrial plant by 2021. According to Laird, this plant will begin producing 16,000 tons of protein per year and could have the capacity to eventually increase production to 50,000 tons per year.
The real challenge for sustainable protein is to be scalable to meet the growing plant-based meat demand,” Laird said. “Recent examples of plant-based products in restaurants such as KFC and Burger King have highlighted the need for scalable supply chain solutions, which can produce millions of tonnes per year.”
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I s lab-grown meat the next frontier in ethical eating?
Stephanie Hogan, CBC News (Canada)
Sep 12, 2019
The meatless burger is surely one of the biggest food trends of 2019. The rising popularity of options like Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods burgers come as scientists implore consumers to switch to a more plant-based diet to help tackle climate change.
But there's another option lurking on the horizon: lab-grown meat. Or, as scientists prefer to call it, "cultured" or "clean" meat. It has the potential to be better for both the environment and your health.
Amy Rowat, associate professor of integrative biology and physiology at University of California, Los Angeles, is one of six scientists who received a grant earlier this year from the Good Food Institute in Washington, D.C., to further develop cultured meat.
Born and raised in Guelph, Ont., Rowat spent years studying cells and has years of academic experience in the science of food.
"All the food that we eat is made of cells," Rowat said, so developing cultured meat was a natural fit. In the simplest terms, stem cells are taken from an animal's muscle and put in a nutrient-rich broth, of sorts, to encourage them to multiply and grow into muscle fibres. So, it is real meat, but with one key difference: Animals don't have to be raised or killed to produce it.
Rowat and her grad student, Stephanie Kawecki, determined that to produce one billion quarter-pounder burgers (113 grams each), it takes 1.2 million cows living for three years on 8,600 square kilometres of land (and then slaughtering them). The same number of cultured burgers would require the muscle stem cells of just one living cow, and they'd take only about a month and a half to grow.
Right now, those cultured burgers would be pricey. The first lab-grown burger was produced in a Netherlands lab in 2013 at a cost of about $425,000 Cdn, although Israeli company Future Meat Technologies said last year it could bring the cost down into the range of $3.00 to $6.00 Cdn a pound (453 g) by 2020. Rowat believes cultured meat will eventually be on par cost-wise with organic beef.
Some believe it could be available in two to five years. But the pivotal question is: Will people eat it?
Lab-grown meat "is a foreign concept," said Kara Nielsen, who analyzes food trends at CCD Innovation in Emeryville, Calif. But she sees a definite advantage. It will have the familiar taste and texture of farmed meat, and it's a good alternative for people concerned with animal rights. "It certainly wins on you-didn't-kill-a-cow-to-eat-this-burger," she said.
Another plausible selling point: it could be healthier than farmed beef. "Imagine modifying genetically the cellular components so that they produce healthier molecules in your cultured meat," said Rowat. For example, to make a lower-fat meat, or one with more healthy fat.
On the environmental front, if people move away from farmed beef, there would be less need to clear cut land to raise cattle, and less methane from those gassy cows.
A recent Oxford University study, however, highlights a potential hurdle. It found that the amount of heat and electricity required to produce cultured meat could be worse, environmentally, than some cattle farming if energy systems remain dependent on fossil fuels...
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