A biotechnology start-up in China has recently introduced its laboratory-raised pork and is aiming for a cost-effectiveness ratio with conventional pork by 2025, This was reported by Reuters.
Amid growing concerns about emissions from meat production, countries are looking for alternatives to protein that feed their populations while being environmentally friendly. Vegetable-based meat has been around for some time, but needs further development to stand as a substitute for animal meat. Cultivated or meat grown in a laboratory are made from animal cages and show great resemblance to conventional meat, but have no large-scale production and are expensive to produce, making it difficult for consumers to switch.
Shanghai-based biotech startup CellX believes it has the technical know-how to tackle the challenges facing laboratory-raised meat and is the first company to offer it in China. Making up 30 percent of world demand, China is the largest consumer of meat with an annual consumption of 86 million tons, This was reported by Reuters. Laboratory meat promises a stable supply, while significantly reducing carbon emissions from conventional production processes.
CellX’s pork product contains cells derived from China’s native black pig. Cells are cultured in growth medium on biological stents or skeletons to support their growth. According to its website, CellX also uses 3D printing to get the right kind of portions, while using food science to match the tastes of conventionally grown meats.
The company claims to have already managed to reduce production costs five times and aims to 10 times by next year. Its growth medium still uses animal serum, which is not only a departure from its mission of “not consuming animals”, but also contributes significantly to the final price. CellX plans to move to a serum-free growth medium and use synthetic biology to derive its growth factors that will help it achieve parity of costs with conventional meats by 2025.
The company was founded only a year ago and now hopes that the regulation on laboratory-grown meat, which is currently absent in China, will help it continue its research and development and food security problems in China and beyond.