LAB-GROWN MEAT in a doodle: What is Cellular Agriculture?

Elly Peng
4 min readNov 8, 2021

This is my brother:

Yes, he’s holding a steak. No, he’s not aware of his presence in this article 🌚

He’s one of those people who think no meat = no meal. While veganism is gaining popularity, a vast majority of people eat meat, whether it’s once a month, week, day, or even each meal.

But what does it take for the tender steak or juicy patty to get on your plate?

What goes into that savoury Premium A5 Wagyu?

Let’s look at the resources put in your basic 1lb of beef:

  • 265 litres of water 💧
  • 25 square metres of land 🌲
  • 16 pounds of greenhouse gases ⛽️
Sad moment :(

And from 1961 to now, global meat production went from 71 million to MORE than 340 million tons.

Yeah.

The problem is, the vast majority of us don’t care. At all.

So what could be a solution to make the meat industry less resource-intensive while allowing us to enjoy our Angus beef burgers?

Cellular agriculture✨

What is cellular agriculture?

Growing meat out of the ground?

Honestly, that would be very cool (and a little bit creepy 🌚).

In reality, cellular agriculture is creating animal products through cell culture (cells grown in a lab).

Petri dish moment 🧫

There are acellular (e.g. milk) and cellular (e.g. meat) products, but we’ll be focusing on the cellular ones (aka lab-grown meat).

How does “lab-grown” meat work?

Let’s discuss it in 4 parts: stem cells, growth serum, scaffolding, and consumption.

1. Stem Cells 🐄

Stem cells are where everything starts.

Stem cells are cells that can differentiate and multiply into all other types of cells. These cells are removed using painless methods from the animal of choice to create cell lines.

Cell lines are cell cultures developed from the same cell and therefore have the same genetic makeup.

So how do they differentiate and multiply?

2. Growth Serum 🧫

The growth serum or “cell culture media” contains the essential nutrients that feed the cell lines.

It also contains other factors that tell the cell what to differentiate into.

How does this meat turn into a steak or ground beef?

3. Scaffolding 🥩

Scaffolds provide structure for the cells to grow, differentiate, and turn into your quarter-pounder beef patty or ribeye steak.

This includes the materials it grows on (e.g. cellulose or proteins) and how it is “assembled” (e.g. 3D printing).

4. Consumption 🍽

And FINALLY, we eat.

Beef, seafood, fish, chicken, pork, duck, and all other kinds of cultured meats exist now and just may hit our local grocery shelves sooner or later.

Leading lab-grown meat companies to check out:

Mosa Meat for their burger 🍔

Because Animals for pet food 🐶

Aleph Farms for steak 🥩

Shiok Meats for seafood 🐟

Upside Foods (previously Memphis Meats) 🦆

This was a pretty brief overview of lab-grown meats and I did leave out a lot of info to keep it brief. Let me know if I should make a more in-depth version or more doodle articles 🌝

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