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Cellular agriculture to the rescue of the planet!

3 minutes

By 2030, 40% more protein will need to be produced to meet planetary needs. Traditional agriculture will not be able to allow this, but science is advancing in many areas to meet this demand. Cellular agriculture makes it possible to develop products of animal origin with a reduced environmental impact. This new agriculture is very promising.

It is a science combining tissue engineering, synthetic biology and materials science. To do this, collected animal cells are cultured with nutrients. Cells multiply and differentiate to create, for example, muscle. This meat is then sold in the form of sausages or minced meat. This is what companies like Meatable offer for example. in the Netherlands or Aleph Farm in Israel. In California, the start-up Finless Foods develops synthetic tuna meat to supply sushi restaurants. Such production avoids the destruction of ocean fauna and considerably limits CO2 emissions from fishing boats or refrigerated trucks.

Other start-ups are even working on the cultivation of insect proteins because it is simpler and therefore more economically viable. It could therefore be that in the next fifteen years consumers will be cooking “cricket ribs” with fleur de sel on the barbecue.

The production of animal protein by cell culture should change the agricultural world. According to the University of Oxford, this new agriculture will require 90% less agricultural land, will use between 7% and 45% less energyand produce78% less greenhouse gases. The impact therefore seems irrevocable! It is also important to note that Singapore, despite its limited surface area, is the leading country in terms of cell culture.

The quantities produced remain limited, however, due to the technology of the bioreactors used, initially designed for the production of medicine and not food. During SXSW 2022 it has also been clearly mentioned that the success of cellular agriculture will go through the creation of a new generation of bioreactors for the cell culture of animal proteins.

That’s why the company announcement Eat Just Inc to create a next-generation bioreactor capable of producing 15 000 tonnes of animal protein per year can bring cell agriculture into a new dimension.

For its CEO Josh Tetrick, our grandchildren won’t understand why
we had to kill animals to eat meat.

The rise of such technology will require food distribution players to invest in the field of life sciences like giants like Amazon and Google.

But this cell culture does not stop at proteins. MIT recently announced that it is working on the cell culture of plants whose ultimate goal would be to create wood for the building and construction industry. Another way to fight against deforestation in addition to cellular agriculture.

Through these examples, it appears that technological innovation is certainly the best way to heal our planet from the evils inflicted by human activity. Investments in Deep Tech technologies will open up new avenues of growth for both private and public sector players. Investing in innovation means anticipating the drastic changes that the world will have to address in its lifestyles and consumption.

As an expert in emerging technologies, Nicolas travels to innovation shows around the world to spot and analyse the new trends.
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