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Cultured meat: every village its own factory?

This research from Wageningen University focuses on biotechnology and cultured meat. The same technology that is starting to be used to create new organs from stem cells, could in principle be used to produce meat. 

The authors argue that cultured meat is a technically feasible alternative to today’s livestock production and say that, compared with the latter, cultured meat creates less environmental pollution, requires less energy, and leads to avoided animal suffering.  They also suggest that negative consumer perceptions could be overcome by adopting a small scale and localised approach to the sector’s development.  However, the authors point out that at present manufacture is costly and that meat prices need to rise before this technology becomes viable.


Rising global demand for meat will result in increased environmental pollution, energy consumption, and animal suffering. Cultured meat, produced in an animal-cell cultivation process, is a technically feasible alternative lacking these disadvantages, provided that an animal-component-free growth medium can be developed. Small-scale production looks particularly promising, not only technologically but also for societal acceptance. Economic feasibility, however, emerges as the real obstacle.


van der Weele,C., Tramper, J., Cultured meat: every village its own factory? Trends in Biotechnology Volume 32, Issue 6, p294–296, 2014, doi: 10.1016/j.tibtech.2014.04.009

Read the full study here, and see further coverage here and here.

Read more about novel protein sources in our Research library here and biotechnology here.

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