Mince-Start: Artificial Horsemeat Will Be Grown in Russia. Meat without Antibiotics Will Be Safer than Natural on
In Russia, artificial horsemeat will appear which will not require the use of antibiotics and other drugs that can harm human health. Scientists are going to grow meat from animal stem cells with the help of special incubators. It is expected that the first cutlet from cultivated horsemeat will appear in three years, and the production of lumpy meat with the help of a bioprinter will be possible in five years.
The Cult of Meat
In the future, cultivated meat may become a healthier alternative to agricultural products. This is explained by the fact that in the creation of artificial food animal cells will be used, which are planned to be grown in a sterile nutrient environment, protected from viruses and bacteria. Now there are about 30 projects in the world that develop technologies for the creation of cultivated meat, and as part of one of them, domestic biologists expect to create for the first time an environmentally friendly horse, which will not contain antibiotics and other harmful components. According to scientists from Kazan, their choice of product was influenced by the traditions of the Republic of Tatarstan, where this type of meat is especially appreciated.
“Using biopsy, we take samples of muscle tissue from young foals, because we can find in them the largest number of stem cells we need,” said Askar Latyshev, CEO of ArtMeat. “After they are isolated, we put the biological material in a special incubator—this technique provides the correct temperature, the composition of the atmosphere, and brings to the cells the nutrients necessary for their growth.”
At the current stage of research, the main goal of scientists is to find the optimum conditions and composition of the medium to ensure the growth of muscle components at maximum speed. According to experts, it is the activity of cellular development that is one of the most important characteristics for further scaling of the technology, which will allow it to be applied on an industrial scale.
On the other hand, fast-growing meat will not be tasty without the inclusion of fat cells in the product, and the project authors have already begun the work on cultivation thereof. Currently, they are already trying to introduce them to muscle cells. The result of this work will be minced meat, which can be used in cooking.
Consumers are not expected to feel much difference between cultivated meat and traditional food.
“The produced food will be almost indistinguishable from those produced in livestock farms,” said Albert Rizvanov, Director of the Research and Clinical Center of Traditional and Regenerative Medicine at the Institute of Fundamental Medicine and Biology of Kazan Federal University. “At the same time, they can become a more useful alternative for people. Due to the sterility of incubators, antibiotics that are actively used on farms are not required to affect artificial meat cells.”
Experts confirmed the safety of the new type of meat, which is determined by the lack of medicines in it.
“In the aseptic conditions of muscle cell cultivation, antibiotics are not required, which will make the resulting products harmless to health,” says Tatiana Danilchuk, Professor of Animal Food Technology and Biotechnology Department of Moscow State University of Food Productions. “On the other hand, the scale of the problem associated with the presence of antibiotics in ordinary meat may be somewhat exaggerated.”
The fact is that under the existing regulations animals stop receiving medicines a few days before slaughter.
“That’s why meat with antibiotics appears on the shelves only in cases of violation of the existing rules, which so far take place in Russian practice,” the expert concluded.
Printed a Cutlet
Researchers do not exclude the fact that the creation of minced meat will be followed by the start of production of lump meat from the cells they obtained. However, this can happen only if additive technologies are developed, because the appearance of artificial steak will require an advanced bioprinter, which will print it from the cells grown.
“The lump meat production technology includes the production of a large number of living cells in the first stage and the creation of a spatial structure from them using 3D bioprinting in the second stage,” said Yusef Khesuani, co-founder and managing partner of 3D Bioprinting Solutions (This company created the Organ.Avt bioprinter operating on the International Space Station in 2019.—Izvestia). “However, work on combining these operations into a single process is already underway, and we will be able to see the result in the form of a finished product in about five years.”
According to the expert, to succeed in this area, scientists should use both muscle and fat cells and connective tissue cells to form streaks of steaks, the presence of which is extremely important for correct perception of the product by the consumer product.
Speaking about the change in the price of new meat, scientists note an encouraging dynamic, which indicates possible market prospects.
“While in 2014 the cost of a kilogram of grown cells was $1 mln, now it has decreased to $1.5 K,” explained Yusef Khesuani. “At the same time, for the products to reach the restaurants, it will be necessary to reduce it by about 100 times, to $15. In my opinion, this is quite feasible in the medium term.”
It is expected that the first ArtMeat mince for use in cooking will be produced in about three years. After that, dishes of cultivated meat can appear in expensive restaurants and on store shelves at the price of premium products.