Ravi Selvaganapathy (McMaster University), Julie Audet (University of Toronto), Michael von Massow (University of Guelph), Michelle Bamji-Mirza (College La Cité)
Climate-Smart Agriculture and Food Systems
Fiscal Year Project Launched:
The demand for dietary protein is growing with the global population. Since intensive beef farming contributes significant greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to the atmosphere, cell-cultivated meat is emerging as a complementary protein source to meet this increasing demand with potentially a small fraction of the environmental impact. Similar to how yoghurt and beer are made, these products are cultivated directly from biological cells in a nutrient-rich medium in stainless steel bioreactors. Formation of meat-like textures are triggered by seeding cells into organic scaffolds. To reach cost parity with animal-based meat, however, the cultivating process must become more efficient and less expensive. This project will use genomic, proteomic, metabolomic and GE3LS (genomics and its ethical, environmental, economic, legal and social aspects) approaches to address technical, economic and social barriers to scaling and commercialization of cell-cultivated meat in Canadian and export markets while minimizing the carbon footprint of production. It will do so by creating a catalogue of cells grown from tiny muscle biopsies of beef cattle to find the cell types best suited for cultivated meat production. This will make cell-cultivated meat nutritious and affordable, with the potential to incorporate agricultural by-products into certain stages of production. The project will optimize bioreactor conditions for growing large numbers of cells and develop protein scaffolds that replicate the taste and texture of animal meat to produce meat patty and slab meat (steak-like) prototypes. The project will bring academia, industry, government and NGOs together in a Canadian Cultivated Meat Consortium. This collaboration will enable rapid mobilization of new knowledge, resulting in efficient implementation by Canadian small and medium-sized enterprises. This research will also have wider applications in the production of cell-cultivated chicken, fish and seafood.
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