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CELL CULTIVATED MEAT

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CELL CULTIVATED MEAT

WHY IN NEWS ?

  • Recently on June 21, two California ­based companies were cleared to make and sell cell ­cultivated chicken, the ‘official’ name of chicken meat that is grown in a laboratory for human consumption.

WHAT IS CELL-CULTIVATED CHICKEN ?

  • To make cell­ cultivated meat, the two companies isolate the cells that make up the meat (the meat that we consume), and put them in a setting where they have all the resources they need to grow and make more copies of themselves.
  • These resources are typically nutrients, fats, carbohydrates, amino acids, the right temperature, etc.
  • The ‘setting’ in which this process transpires is often a bioreactor (also known as a ‘cultivator’).

  • Once there are enough of these cells, which takes around two to three weeks in Upside’s process, they resemble a mass of minced meat.
  • They are collected and processed with additives to improve texture.

BENEFITS OF CELL CULTIVATED MEAT :

  • Its proponents have advanced the following arguments, among others — emissions, land use, prevention of animal cruelty, and food security.
  • The first two are related to climate mitigation.
  • The FAO has estimated that global livestock is responsible for 14.5% of all anthropogenic greenhouse­ gas emissions.
  • Of this, the production of beef as a commodity accounted for 41% whereas chicken meat and eggs accounted for 8%.
  • Similarly, the 2021 report estimated that lab­ cultivated meat would use 63% less land in the case of chicken.

CHALLENGES IN CELL MEAT CULTIVATION :

There are broadly four kinds of challenges.

  • First is consumer acceptance. Perfectly substituting animal meat with alternative meat requires it to match the original in taste, texture and appearance.
  • Second, the cost of cell ­cultivated meat is expected to remain high in the near future.
  • One 2020 analysis concluded that it may never be cost­competitive, while reports have also expressed concerns about the costs imposed by quality control, especially at scale.
  • Third, for cultivation, researchers require high quality cells, a suitable growth ­medium in which the cells can be cultured, plus other resources required to maintain the quality of the final product.

SYLLABUS: PRELIMS, CURRENT AFFAIRS

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