Title Title
Lab-grown meat: how can we satisfy future demand? Lab-grown meat: how can we satisfy future demand?
Summary Summary
By 2050 global meat consumption is predicted to double. A scientist thinks he may have the answer.  By 2050 global meat consumption is predicted to double. A scientist thinks he may have the answer
Highlights Highlights
Mark Post's team made the world's first lab-grown burger , In 12 weeks they could make hundreds of thousands , By 2050 global meat consumption is predicted to double Mark Post's team made the world's first lab-grown burger , In 12 weeks they could make hundreds of thousands , By 2050 global meat consumption is predicted to double
Content Content
<b>Meat consumption is forecast to double in the next 30 years as the world gets richer and developing nations form a taste for farmed protein. However, it's a shift the planet may not be able to sustain with traditional farming. One solution is lab-grown meat.</b> <b>Meat consumption is forecast to double in the next 30 years as the world gets richer and developing nations form a taste for farmed protein. However, it's a shift the planet may not be able to sustain with traditional farming. One solution is lab-grown meat.</b>
<span style="font-weight: 400;">In 1932, the British Prime Minister Winston Churchill pondered the madness of growing an entire</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">animal to eat only part of it.</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">In 1932, the British Prime Minister Winston Churchill pondered the madness of growing an entire</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">animal to eat only part of it.</span>
<span style="font-weight: 400;"> “Fifty years hence, we shall escape the absurdity of growing a whole chicken in order to eat the breast or wing, by growing these parts separately under a suitable medium,” </span><a href="http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0309174012001210#bb0050"><span style="font-weight: 400;">he wrote</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> in his collection of essays, </span><i><span style="font-weight: 400;">Thoughts and Adventures</span></i><span style="font-weight: 400;">.</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;"> “Fifty years hence, we shall escape the absurdity of growing a whole chicken in order to eat the breast or wing, by growing these parts separately under a suitable medium,” </span><a href="http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0309174012001210#bb0050"><span style="font-weight: 400;">he wrote</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> in his collection of essays, </span><i><span style="font-weight: 400;">Thoughts and Adventures</span></i><span style="font-weight: 400;">.</span>
<span style="font-weight: 400;">Then, the prediction was the realm of science fiction. Now, however, it may be an answer to the ever-increasing pressure put on the planet by farming meat.</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">Then, the prediction was the realm of science fiction. Now, however, it may be an answer to the ever-increasing pressure put on the planet by farming meat.</span>
<span style="font-weight: 400;">“You don't need a lot of resources, you don't need a lot of water ... and thirdly you don't need a lot of skilled forces to do this,” says Professor Mark Post of </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Maastricht University in the Netherlands.</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">“You don't need a lot of resources, you don't need a lot of water ... and thirdly you don't need a lot of skilled forces to do this,” says Professor Mark Post of </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Maastricht University in the Netherlands.</span>
[caption id="attachment_20334" align="aligncenter" width="620"]<img class="size-medium wp-image-20334" src="https://s3-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/wikitribune-uploads-master/2017/07/Cultured-Beef-4-1-2-620x417.jpg" alt="Lab burger researcher, Professor Mark Post of Maastricht University, Netherlands. Photo credit: David Parry/PA (CC BY -SA 3.0)" width="620" height="417" /> Lab burger researcher, Professor Mark Post of Maastricht University, Netherlands. Photo credit: David Parry/Press Association (CC BY -SA 3.0)[/caption] [caption id="attachment_20334" align="aligncenter" width="620"]<img class="size-medium wp-image-20334" src="https://s3-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/wikitribune-uploads-master/2017/07/Cultured-Beef-4-1-2-620x417.jpg" alt="Lab burger researcher, Professor Mark Post of Maastricht University, Netherlands. Photo credit: David Parry/PA (CC BY -SA 3.0)" width="620" height="417" /> Lab burger researcher, Professor Mark Post of Maastricht University, Netherlands. Photo credit: David Parry/Press Association (CC BY -SA 3.0)[/caption]
<span style="font-weight: 400;">Post is credited with developing the first ever cell-cultured beef hamburger. In 2013, at an event in London, he showcased his creation. He had taken a muscle sample from a cow and separated the muscle specific stem cells. He then allowed these cells to multiply until they numbered in their trillions. Then he again separated the cells into smaller groupings that could be compacted together. Post added salt and breadcrumbs before cooking the finished product. Voila – a lab grown burger.</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">Post is credited with developing the first ever cell-cultured beef hamburger. In 2013, at an event in London, he showcased his creation. He had taken a muscle sample from a cow and separated the muscle specific stem cells. He then allowed these cells to multiply until they numbered in their trillions. Then he again separated the cells into smaller groupings that could be compacted together. Post added salt and breadcrumbs before cooking the finished product. Voila – a lab grown burger.</span>
<span style="font-weight: 400;">Using this method, the burger </span><a href="http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/nyas.12569/full"><span style="font-weight: 400;">required</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> just 225g of nutrients to produce 200g of beef. In contrast, the typical burger requires 1.3kg of feed to produce 200g beef. Producing the </span><a href="http://pubs.acs.org/doi/ipdf/10.1021/es200130u"><span style="font-weight: 400;">lab-grown meat</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> also had 96 percent lower greenhouse-gas emissions, 99 percent lower land use, and 82 to 96 percent less water use than European produced meat – excluding poultry.</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">Using this method, the burger </span><a href="http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/nyas.12569/full"><span style="font-weight: 400;">required</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> just 225g of nutrients to produce 200g of beef. In contrast, the typical burger requires 1.3kg of feed to produce 200g beef. Producing the </span><a href="http://pubs.acs.org/doi/ipdf/10.1021/es200130u"><span style="font-weight: 400;">lab-grown meat</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> also had 96 percent lower greenhouse-gas emissions, 99 percent lower land use, and 82 to 96 percent less water use than European produced meat – excluding poultry.</span>
<span style="font-weight: 400;">Post believes that if his method can be scaled up it will have a huge impact on the future of agriculture and the world.</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">Post believes that if his method can be scaled up it will have a huge impact on the future of agriculture and the world.</span>
<span style="font-weight: 400;">“It will tremendously reduce the amount of livestock farming that we have on this planet, because of all the negative consequences of it.”</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">“It will tremendously reduce the amount of livestock farming that we have on this planet, because of all the negative consequences of it.”</span>
<b>The scale of the problem </b> <b>The scale of the problem </b>
<span style="font-weight: 400;">The Food and Agriculture Organization projects total meat consumption will more than</span><a href="https://www.researchgate.net/publication/241868471_The_future_supply_of_animal-derived_protein_for_human_consumption"> <span style="font-weight: 400;">double</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> between 2000 and 2050 – by which time the world's population will be </span><a href="https://esa.un.org/unpd/wpp/Publications/Files/WPP2017_KeyFindings.pdf"><span style="font-weight: 400;">9.7 billion</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> people. </span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">The Food and Agriculture Organization projects total meat consumption will more than</span><a href="https://www.researchgate.net/publication/241868471_The_future_supply_of_animal-derived_protein_for_human_consumption"> <span style="font-weight: 400;">double</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> between 2000 and 2050 – by which time the world's population will be </span><a href="https://esa.un.org/unpd/wpp/Publications/Files/WPP2017_KeyFindings.pdf"><span style="font-weight: 400;">9.7 billion</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> people. </span>
<span style="font-weight: 400;">Roughly one </span><a href="http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/fes3.99/full"><span style="font-weight: 400;">third</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> of the Earth's land is used for agriculture and 70 percent of this is used for raising livestock. If this pasture was used to grow crops instead it could potentially provide enough calories to meet the basic needs of an additional</span><a href="http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/00139157.2015.1025644"> <span style="font-weight: 400;">4 billion people</span></a> – <span style="font-weight: 400;">more than enough to meet the needs of the forecasted 2050 population. </span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">Roughly one </span><a href="http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/fes3.99/full"><span style="font-weight: 400;">third</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> of the Earth's land is used for agriculture and 70 percent of this is used for raising livestock. If this pasture was used to grow crops instead it could potentially provide enough calories to meet the basic needs of an additional</span><a href="http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/00139157.2015.1025644"> <span style="font-weight: 400;">4 billion people</span></a> – <span style="font-weight: 400;">more than enough to meet the needs of the forecasted 2050 population. </span>
<span style="font-weight: 400;">But that transition is unlikely to happen. In Asia, for example, animal protein consumption </span><a href="https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Shane_Rutherfurd/publication/241868471_The_future_supply_of_animal-derived_protein_for_human_consumption/links/56f197f208aee9c94cfd6f26/The-future-supply-of-animal-derived-protein-for-human-consumption.pdf"><span style="font-weight: 400;">increased 225 percent</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> per person between 1961 and 2007. While such rates are unlikely to continue, </span><a href="http://www.who.int/nutrition/topics/3_foodconsumption/en/index4.html"><span style="font-weight: 400;">developing countries will experience the greatest increases in meat consumption </span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">in the future.</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">But that transition is unlikely to happen. In Asia, for example, animal protein consumption </span><a href="https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Shane_Rutherfurd/publication/241868471_The_future_supply_of_animal-derived_protein_for_human_consumption/links/56f197f208aee9c94cfd6f26/The-future-supply-of-animal-derived-protein-for-human-consumption.pdf"><span style="font-weight: 400;">increased 225 percent</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> per person between 1961 and 2007. While such rates are unlikely to continue, </span><a href="http://www.who.int/nutrition/topics/3_foodconsumption/en/index4.html"><span style="font-weight: 400;">developing countries will experience the greatest increases in meat consumption </span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">in the future.</span>
[caption id="attachment_20339" align="aligncenter" width="620"]<img class="size-medium wp-image-20339" src="https://s3-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/wikitribune-uploads-master/2017/07/Cultured-Beef-2-620x413.jpg" alt="Lab grown burger made up of muscle fibers. (CC BY SA 3.0) David Parry/PA" width="620" height="413" /> Lab grown burger made up of thousands of muscle fibers compacted together. Photo credit: David Parry/Press Association  (CC BY -SA 3.0)[/caption] [caption id="attachment_20339" align="aligncenter" width="620"]<img class="size-medium wp-image-20339" src="https://s3-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/wikitribune-uploads-master/2017/07/Cultured-Beef-2-620x413.jpg" alt="Lab grown burger made up of muscle fibers. (CC BY SA 3.0) David Parry/PA" width="620" height="413" /> Lab grown burger made up of thousands of muscle fibers compacted together. Photo credit: David Parry/Press Association  (CC BY -SA 3.0)[/caption]
<span style="font-weight: 400;">However, the United States is still top of the meat eating pile,</span><a href="https://www.researchgate.net/profile/John_Barrett7/publication/253389771_Our_health_our_environment_The_Ecological_Footprint_of_what_we_eat/links/00b7d53c564c333134000000.pdf"> <span style="font-weight: 400;">consuming 30 times more</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> meat per person annually than the bottom ranking meat-eating country – India. Half of the United States’ land, 80 percent of its freshwater and 17 percent of its fossil energy is spent on food production.</span><b></b> <span style="font-weight: 400;">However, the United States is still top of the meat eating pile,</span><a href="https://www.researchgate.net/profile/John_Barrett7/publication/253389771_Our_health_our_environment_The_Ecological_Footprint_of_what_we_eat/links/00b7d53c564c333134000000.pdf"> <span style="font-weight: 400;">consuming 30 times more</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> meat per person annually than the bottom ranking meat-eating country – India. Half of the United States’ land, 80 percent of its freshwater and 17 percent of its fossil energy is spent on food production.</span><b></b>
<a href="https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Joop_Boer/publication/290373119_Climate_change_and_meat_eating_An_inconvenient_couple/links/569649ba08ae34f3cf1d88e4.pdf"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Global livestock production</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> is already responsible for about 12 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, of which</span><a href="http://www.fao.org/news/story/en/item/197623/icode/"><span style="font-weight: 400;"> cattle make up 65 percent</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">. This is because cattle are ruminants – mammals which get nutrients from plants by fermenting them in their stomachs prior to digestion. The fermentation process produces methane and carbon dioxide which the animal then emits.</span> <a href="https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Joop_Boer/publication/290373119_Climate_change_and_meat_eating_An_inconvenient_couple/links/569649ba08ae34f3cf1d88e4.pdf"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Global livestock production</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> is already responsible for about 12 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, of which</span><a href="http://www.fao.org/news/story/en/item/197623/icode/"><span style="font-weight: 400;"> cattle make up 65 percent</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">. This is because cattle are ruminants – mammals which get nutrients from plants by fermenting them in their stomachs prior to digestion. The fermentation process produces methane and carbon dioxide which the animal then emits.</span>
<span style="font-weight: 400;">But in order to meet overall food demands in 2050, the world will have to produce 60 percent more food than it does now. At the current trend, that means more land, more cattle, more greenhouse gas emissions. It’s apparent that meat production and its consumption</span><a href="https://www.nationalgeographic.com/foodfeatures/meat/"><span style="font-weight: 400;"> is increasingly unsustainable. </span></a> <span style="font-weight: 400;">But in order to meet overall food demands in 2050, the world will have to produce 60 percent more food than it does now. At the current trend, that means more land, more cattle, more greenhouse gas emissions. It’s apparent that meat production and its consumption</span><a href="https://www.nationalgeographic.com/foodfeatures/meat/"><span style="font-weight: 400;"> is increasingly unsustainable. </span></a>
<span style="font-weight: 400;">Hence, meat grown in a lab.</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">Hence, meat grown in a lab.</span>
<h2><b>One of the options</b></h2> <h2><b>One of the options</b></h2>
<span style="font-weight: 400;">Mark Post's team at </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Maastricht University</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"> expects a lab-grown burger to cost around $10 once production is scaled up. Because of this price point, the team thinks the burgers will initially be a restaurant product, before output is scaled up and rolled out in supermarkets several years later. </span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">Mark Post's team at </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Maastricht University</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"> expects a lab-grown burger to cost around $10 once production is scaled up. Because of this price point, the team thinks the burgers will initially be a restaurant product, before output is scaled up and rolled out in supermarkets several years later. </span>
<span style="font-weight: 400;">Post believes that lab-grown burgers will be in restaurants in five years and in supermarkets in ten. However, it is </span><a href="http://pubs.acs.org/doi/ipdf/10.1021/es200130u"><span style="font-weight: 400;">estimated</span></a> <span style="font-weight: 400;">that a $160 million investment is needed to make lab-grown meat for the mass market.</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">Post believes that lab-grown burgers will be in restaurants in five years and in supermarkets in ten. However, it is </span><a href="http://pubs.acs.org/doi/ipdf/10.1021/es200130u"><span style="font-weight: 400;">estimated</span></a> <span style="font-weight: 400;">that a $160 million investment is needed to make lab-grown meat for the mass market.</span>
<span style="font-weight: 400;">Since revealing the lab-grown burger in 2013, the Maastricht University team have been working on adding myoglobin, which gives beef its red color and iron content. They have added fat after criticism that the burger wasn’t juicy enough and they have eliminated fetal bovine serum from the lab process, as it requires a large number of calves. They have worked to make the entire procedure more efficient so it can be scaled up for industry.</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">Since revealing the lab-grown burger in 2013, the Maastricht University team have been working on adding myoglobin, which gives beef its red color and iron content. They have added fat after criticism that the burger wasn’t juicy enough and they have eliminated fetal bovine serum from the lab process, as it requires a large number of calves. They have worked to make the entire procedure more efficient so it can be scaled up for industry.</span>
<span style="font-weight: 400;">In theory you could make hundreds of thousands of burgers from one sample from one cow. Because cells replicate exponentially, it takes 10 weeks for Post’s team to make two burgers. In 12 weeks they could make hundreds of thousands of burgers if they had the resources. This means humans could reduce the number of cows globally from about</span><a href="http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/climate-change/cow-emissions-more-damaging-to-planet-than-co2-from-cars-427843.html"> <span style="font-weight: 400;">1.5 billion currently</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> to just the tens of thousands necessary to keep cow populations genetically healthy.</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">In theory you could make hundreds of thousands of burgers from one sample from one cow. Because cells replicate exponentially, it takes 10 weeks for Post’s team to make two burgers. In 12 weeks they could make hundreds of thousands of burgers if they had the resources. This means humans could reduce the number of cows globally from about</span><a href="http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/climate-change/cow-emissions-more-damaging-to-planet-than-co2-from-cars-427843.html"> <span style="font-weight: 400;">1.5 billion currently</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> to just the tens of thousands necessary to keep cow populations genetically healthy.</span>
<span style="font-weight: 400;">At the moment, Maastricht University is just focusing on lab-grown beef burgers because they are one of the most popular meat products, and therefore one of the most marketable. </span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">At the moment, Maastricht University is just focusing on lab-grown beef burgers because they are one of the most popular meat products, and therefore one of the most marketable. </span>
<span style="font-weight: 400;">From a sustainability point of view there is also the most to gain as cattle produce more methane and it takes far more feed to get 1kg of beef compared with other livestock, poultry and fish. However, Post says as long as an animal has muscle-specific stem cells – which mammals, birds, and fish do – then it should be possible to grow other variants of meat in a lab.</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">From a sustainability point of view there is also the most to gain as cattle produce more methane and it takes far more feed to get 1kg of beef compared with other livestock, poultry and fish. However, Post says as long as an animal has muscle-specific stem cells – which mammals, birds, and fish do – then it should be possible to grow other variants of meat in a lab.</span>
<span style="font-weight: 400;">Lab-grown meat also reduces food and water demands. Post says that the best way to help the environment would be for everyone to switch to a plant-based diet but that the behavioral change required in a short amount of time “we have left” would be “too much to ask.”</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">Lab-grown meat also reduces food and water demands. Post says that the best way to help the environment would be for everyone to switch to a plant-based diet but that the behavioral change required in a short amount of time “we have left” would be “too much to ask.”</span>
He says it's likely that the technology will be embraced by developing countries as much of the process will be automated. He says it's likely that the technology will be embraced by developing countries as much of the process will be automated.
"It doesn't require a whole educational system and years of setting up that system and training people to make this happen.” "It doesn't require a whole educational system and years of setting up that system and training people to make this happen.”
<span style="font-weight: 400;">That's why Post thinks we need to bank on several solutions – and one of those is cultured meat. </span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">That's why Post thinks we need to bank on several solutions – and one of those is cultured meat. </span>
<span style="font-weight: 400;">"As far as I can see, it is one of the technologies that has the potential for us being able to still cherish our meat eating behaviors without the negative consequences,” he says.</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">"As far as I can see, it is one of the technologies that has the potential for us being able to still cherish our meat eating behaviors without the negative consequences,” he says.</span>
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<h6>References</h6> <h6>References</h6>
<ul> <ul>
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<li><a href="http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0306919216304973">Should we stop meating like this? Reducing meat consumption through substitution</a>. Apostolidis, C. and McLeay, F. (2016). <i>Food Policy</i>, 65, pp.74-89. DOI: <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foodpol.2016.11.002" rel="nofollow">https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foodpol.2016.11.002</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0306919216304973">Should we stop meating like this? Reducing meat consumption through substitution</a>. Apostolidis, C. and McLeay, F. (2016). <i>Food Policy</i>, 65, pp.74-89. DOI: <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foodpol.2016.11.002" rel="nofollow">https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foodpol.2016.11.002</a></li>
<li><a href="https://www.researchgate.net/publication/253389771_Our_health_our_environment_The_Ecological_Footprint_of_what_we_eat"><i>Our health, our environment: The Ecological Footprint of what we eat</i></a>. Barrett, J. (2007). Paper prepared for the International Ecological Footprint Conference, Cardiff, 8-10 May 2007: Stepping up the Pace: New Developments in Ecological Footprint Methodology, Applications.</li> <li><a href="https://www.researchgate.net/publication/253389771_Our_health_our_environment_The_Ecological_Footprint_of_what_we_eat"><i>Our health, our environment: The Ecological Footprint of what we eat</i></a>. Barrett, J. (2007). Paper prepared for the International Ecological Footprint Conference, Cardiff, 8-10 May 2007: Stepping up the Pace: New Developments in Ecological Footprint Methodology, Applications.</li>
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