Meatable says that it can create cell-based pork in eight days
Dutch biotech company Meatable has announced that it can create “tasty” cultivated pork in eight days.
The company says that eight days is 5% of the time needed to rear a pig on a farm. To create Meatable’s cultivated meat, the team first isolates a single animal cell, taken "harmlessly" from an animal. The technology is based on pluripotent stem cells (PSCs), which have the natural ability to keep on multiplying and to do so rapidly – Meatable’s process has a doubling time of only 24 hours.
Meatable said that “the difficulty with using PSCs is that it can be more challenging to change them from stem cells into more specialised cells, such as muscle or fat. However, by using these cells in combination with our patented opti-ox technology, we’re able to produce real muscle and fat cells that are fully differentiated in just days.”
This technique is coupled with a perfusion process that allows the Meatable team to work in a continuous cycle to generate very high cell densities.
“We’ve been able to reach 80 million cells per millilitre and are pushing this even further,” Meatable stated. “If you’re not a scientist, this means we can grow a lot of cells in our bioreactors, and harvest cultured meat from the reactors continuously. This is a great step forward as it increases productivity and makes the process easy to scale.”
The multiplying and differentiation of Meatable’s cells occur in bioreactors filled with nutrients needed to feed the cells (called media). To optimise the process and decrease costs, the company says it will scale to bioreactors of 50 metres cubed.
The statement continued: “We have been able to reduce our media costs for some of these nutrients by 100x, in part thanks to a joint research project with Royal DSM. This is also why the speed element of our process is so important – it drives down the number of reactors required, the amount of media we need, as well as labour and energy, which all makes it more affordable, easier to scale and reduces the impact of meat on the environment.”
Meatable’s cultivated meat cells are said to be indistinguishable from traditional muscle and fat cells. By using PSCs in the process, Meatable can fully differentiate its cells, enabling the company to create the right level of fibre formation, protein and fat accumulation in the cells which is similar to those in traditional pork and gives meat its pronounced flavour and bite.