Agriculture from the time of its inception has been under constant evolution and modifications. Today, the agriculture we practice has been through numerous revolutions be it green, white, blue or golden. These revolutions have transformed the way we grow food and even store and process it. The food processing industry has come up with inventive ways of making the best of basic commodities and adding value to it. In lab propagation of plants known as tissue culture has resolved the risk of encountering plant diseases and pests in the preliminary stage of their life cycle where they were the most vulnerable. Almost every industry has seen paradigm shifts in the way they function and produce but so far the meat industry had lagged behind. Why so far, because recent development in the industry has raised speculations for a revolution of the food industry. The new development we are going to talk about is of the cellular agriculture or in literal terms lab-grown meat.


Cellular agriculture is the production of animal-based products from cell cultures rather than directly from animals. After hunting and domesticating animals, cellular agriculture looks set to become the third phase of human sourcing of animal protein. There are two kinds of agricultural products derived from cell culture: acellular products (precision fermentation) and cellular products (cell cultivation). Acellular products are made of organic molecules like proteins and fats and contain no cellular or living material in the final product whereas, cellular products are made of living or once-living cells.

Source- Massive Science
Source- Esco Aster


The cell-cultivation method refers to growing meat directly from cells. Cells are the building blocks of all life. By cultivating them to produce meat and seafood, the raising and slaughtering of animals can be avoided. To produce cultured meat and seafood, stem cells are initially sampled from animals through a painless biopsy. These cells are then fed with nutrients in large vats, also known as cultivators, where they multiply and differentiate. As they grow, they become muscle tissue, which is the main component of meat. A number of start-ups and companies are currently working on developing a variety of cultured foods, including beef, pork, chicken, fish, seafood, milk, and cheese.


The precision-fermentation method refers to the use of microorganisms rather than cell cultures to produce products such as milk and egg-white proteins. Animal insulin could be considered the first cellular agriculture product. These products can be grown directly from microorganisms such as yeast in a similar fermentation process to that which has been used for many years in the food industry to produce enzymes  such as rennet (a key ingredient to produce cheese) or vanillin (the main component of vanilla flavor), as well as other products. Startups and companies are currently working to develop milk, ice cream, cheese, gelatine, and egg-white. Some products have already been commercialized, such as Greater’s ice cream, which uses Perfect Day’s flora-based dairy proteins. The final products aim to resemble conventional meat, eggs, and dairy in terms of taste and structure while offering significant benefits for human health, the environment, and animal welfare.

Source- Cell Ag and Proveg


Hybrid products combine plant-based and cultured ingredients to develop tasty and sustainable products that will also potentially be cost-effective. This new product category shows many promises in terms of texture and taste, while adding an appealing juiciness. For instance, adding cultured fat to a plant-based chicken nugget could provide the genuine taste of chicken as well as improving juiciness and meatiness, while having an authentic texture, thanks to the plant-based proteins. The first proof-of-concept of hybrid products, chicken nuggets comprising 80% vegetable protein and 20% cultured fat, was unveiled in March 2019 by Peace of Meat, during a public event organised in Berlin. Looking at it this way, plant-based and cultured products are not mutually exclusive categories but actually form a highly promising complementary strategy – together, they have the potential to accelerate market entry by combining two different approaches to arrive at a perfect result, rather than perfecting just one approach completely.

Source- Esco Aster


Cellular agriculture aims to provide people with the animal-based products they know and like, but with a lighter impact on the environment as well as numerous human health benefits and significant improvements in animal welfare. It has the potential to either accelerate socioeconomic inequality or provide beneficial alternatives to the status quo. That’s the conclusion of a new study led by Penn State researchers, who assessed the potential trajectories for a new technology that synergizes computer science, biopharma, tissue engineering and food science to grow cultured meat, dairy and egg products from animal cells and/or genetically modified yeast. Although cellular meat is not yet widely available to consumers, its proponents believe that cellular agriculture could reduce land, water and chemical inputs, minimize greenhouse gas emissions, improve food safety, optimize nutrition, and eliminate the need to raise and slaughter large numbers of animals for food.

The team at Penn State researching the implications of cellular agriculture: From left, Leland Glenna, Mark Gagnon, Siena Baker, Megan Griffin and Robert Chiles.
Source- Penn State News

Governments all around the world are aware and familiar with the use of cellular bioengineering in food and understand the positive environmental impact, food-safety perspectives, and the economic prospects for cultured animal products. Hence, there wouldn’t be any hindrance when cellular agriculture products are launched into the market at high volumes. However, some concerns have been raised by various communities which we’ll discuss below.


The most pressing challenges currently facing cellular agriculture include research, regulatory aspects, and consumer acceptance. More publicly-funded, open-source research is required to address technical challenges such as growth mediums, cell lines, and consumer safety. The regulatory framework for cellular-agriculture products needs further elaboration in order to create a supportive environment for producers and consumers. In addition, consumers need to be informed about and updated on the potential benefits of, and current developments around, cellular agriculture in order to ensure widespread acceptance of these products. Cellular agriculture could also concentrate ownership and power in the global food system, namely by displacing ranchers, farmers, fishermen and ancillary industries. The latter possibility has led to widespread concern that cellular agriculture could accelerate the concentration of wealth and diminish public participation in agriculture. Also the vegan community has not welcomed the technology which has also raised objection on global scale which can prove to be an obstacle in the coming future.

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