Will this meat soon be on your plates? In Canada, McMaster researchers have developed a new form of meat cultivated that promises a flavor and texture close to traditional meat. This fake meat was designed by stacking thin sheets of muscle and fat cells in the lab. The technique used by researchers Ravi Selvaganapathy and Alireza Shahin-Shamsabadi, both from the university’s school of biomedical engineering, is directly adapted from a method used to cultivate tissue for human transplants.
The different layers can be stacked into a solid piece of any thickness and adjusted to reproduce the fat content and marbling any other piece of meat. An important difference compared to other artificial meats already imagined. “We create slices of meat. Consumers will be able to buy meat with the percentage of fat of their choice – just as they do with milk “, specify the scientists.
As they describe in the review Cells Tissues Organs, the researchers made and cooked a sample of meat they created from rabbit cells. “It looked and tasted like meat,” Ravi Selvaganapathy says. There’s no reason to think the same technology wouldn’t work for growing beef, pork or chicken, and the model would lend itself well to large-scale production, the researcher points out.
At the origin of this discovery, the researchers were touched by the current meat supply crisis. As global demand continues to rise, meat consumption is straining the earth’s resources and generating worrying levels of greenhouse gases. “Currently, meat production is not sustainable. There must be another way to create meat,” notes Ravi Selvaganapathy. Produce viable meat without raising and killing animals would be much more durable, more hygienic and there would be much less waste, the researchers point out.
Compared to other forms of meat already cultivated in the laboratory, the two Canadian researchers believe that theirs has the best potential to create products that consumers will adopt in their daily lives and enjoy. A project far from being only in the brains of scientists. Indeed, to make this idea a reality, they formed a start-up in order to begin marketing this new technology soon.