It is not much, but enough to create a hope for food biotechnology. At the present time, artificial meat technology is still in its infancy, but everyone is looking forward to further research to create a meat that is competitive in the market. Now, we can even create solid meat in the laboratory, not just the pure meats.
Each piece of meat we eat is the muscles of the animal. But animals don’t just have meat. A cow, for example, has organs and bones – the majority of countries in the world refuse to consume. From the perspective of environmentalists, cattle need food, water, space, energy consumption, and create a large amount of waste – which causes a significant impact on the environment.
More importantly, these are all living animals, and this makes many people choose to become vegetarian because they do not want to kill.
So will it be easier for us to be able to create the right human flesh without leaving waste, nor do we need to kill any creature? That’s when cell biotechnology comes in, with the potential to create only muscle and fat bundles. They are called “cultured meat”.
In the laboratory environment, experts include all the elements needed for a living organism to grow: nutrition, oxygen, moisture, signals from other cells … to create artificial meat. . At the present time, studies of artificial meat have had some success, creating finely meats like burgers.
Now, artificial meat technology is entering a more complex stage: creating real meat pieces, like beef tenderloin and chicken breast, not just puree.
The current technology of making artificial meat indicates pure meat, without a solid texture.
What is basic structure of meat?
If you look at the piece of meat you still eat under the microscope, you will see that it is a very complex structure – matrix of muscle cells and fat, mixing with blood vessels and connective tissues.
A basic piece of meat has fat, muscle, blood vessels and connective tissue. Muscle cells contain protein, fat is fat. Combined, they create the flavor for each piece of meat you still eat. Meanwhile, blood vessels and connective tissues make it a structure.
A piece of meat needs all four elements, and that is the challenge for biotechnology. Scientists have to make a piece of meat that is full of complexity to be truly valuable, and appear on the market.
Science can create muscle and fat in the laboratory, but blood vessels and connective tissues can only grow in a living organism. So, the meats created so far have only the puree that can be used in burgers, not yet able to get a complete piece of beef.
Scientific breakthrough with cultured meat.
To create a cultured piece of meat, scientists will take a living tissue with cells in the animal’s body, then provide nutrients, oxygen and moisture for them to grow.
Thus, we can create muscle and fat separately, then mix it into a piece of meat. But since there are no blood vessels and connective tissue, they are just pure flesh, but they cannot be tenderloin and chicken breast.
To solve this story, scientists have come up with a way to replicate the actual structure of a piece of meat with a method called “scaffold development”.
Scaffolding (or scaffolding) is a term in the construction industry, referring to a supporting structure for a building. In medicine, it is understood to be the form of making living tissue from biological materials – in the form of film, gel, sponge … – to serve for transplantation.
For medicine, “scaffolding” should be safe to prevent anaphylactic shock, easy to decompose after completing the role of supporting cell development. But for food biotechnology it is different. Not only is it stable to support tissues, but it also has to meet the criteria: cheap, edible, and environmentally friendly when mass-produced.
Based on this idea, scientists have come up with different formulas for scaffolding for artificial meat, such as using cellulose in plants, chitosan in mushrooms, or alginate in algae.
Natalie R. Rubio, a specialist in cell culture from Tufts University (USA), recently came up with a formula like this: use chitosan to make gel water, then put it in the tube and then cool it down to form a sponge form. Next, she transferred the meat cells into the mold, allowing them to grow in three-dimensional space, to create cell thickness.
This mold helps nutrition and oxygen spread throughout the tissue. With this method, Rubio’s lab created a small piece of meat, but had a very solid texture.
J.D , Source: HELINO