Cultured meat Glossary
Lab grown meat
Lab grown beef, lab grown chicken and lab grown pork are all types of meat grown from animal cells in a controlled and sterile laboratory setting designed to replicate the process that occurs naturally inside an animal. Stem cells are taken from the animal, placed in a nutrient-rich cell media, and allowed to grow and differentiate into mature muscle and fat cells.
Cultured meat is the most widely used term for animal meat produced by growing cells in a lab setting instead of slaughtering animals. Other terms include ‘cultivated,’ ‘lab-grown’ and ‘clean.’
Cultivated meat is a commonly used term for animal meat produced by growing cells in a lab setting instead of slaughtering animals. Other terms include ‘cultured meat,’ ‘lab-grown meat,’ and ‘clean meat.
Clean meat is meat grown in a laboratory setting without the use of antibiotics and hormones, which are commonly used for farm animals to prevent sickness and enhance growth. It is also avoids the exposure to pathogens that typically plague the conventional meat industry.
Sustainable meat is meat produced with minimal impact on the environment. It requires only a small fraction of the land, water and electricity (especially with renewable energy) resources needed for conventional meat farming.
Synthetic meat, synthetic beef, synthetic pork, and synthetic chicken are a mistakenly used terms for searches by people looking for a definition of different types of cultured meat. The word “synthetic” describes something fake that is made to resemble something real or genuine. Cultured beef, chicken and pork are made from real animal muscle and fat cells through a process that replicates tissue development inside an animal. The end product is genuine animal tissue ― the opposite of “synthetic” ― produced for human consumption.
Ethical meat is meat produced for human consumption without raising animals for slaughter.
Foods intended to replace foods conventionally derived from animals, such as meat, seafood and dairy products. Today plant-based alternative proteins are widely available, but new categories, like cultured meats, are emerging
Food, such as cultured meat, that minimizes harm to animals but can’t easily be classified as vegan or vegetarian because it might involve animals at the early stages of production.
Hybrid meats are alternative protein products composed of both plant-based and cultured meat ingredients.
Structured meat refers to whole cuts of meat, such as steak or pork chops, which in the context of cultured meat production, requires advanced scientific processes and technologies, including bio inks and 3D bioprinters. Unstructured meat is a mass of meat without any structure, i.e. mined meat.
Meat 2.0 is a term to describe the burgeoning alternative protein industry which promises to make animals a less critical part of the protein supply chain. It also intends to make protein production more environmentally sustainable. Meat 2.0 includes plant-based meat substitutes, cultured meats and hybrid.
Factory farm of the future
The factory farm of the future, like what Steakholder Foods, formerly MeaTech 3D, is developing, will cultivate consistently high-quality real meat with a low carbon footprint, minimal land and water usage, and no pollution associated with animal farming. It will house stainless steel “cows,” and bioreactors, where meat will be grown from cells in a way that attempts to replicate the cell growth process that occurs naturally inside animals. This is expected to disrupt traditional factory farms and slaughterhouses, the principal providers of meat for billions of people globally. According to a UN estimate, the meat industry generates 18% of all global greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs), most of which emanates from cows in the form of methane. If renewable energies are used, cultured meat production will dramatically reduce GHGs.
A bioreactor is a system composed of a vessel, control unit and auxiliary components used to support cell growth and proliferation. Bioreactors provide cells with ideal conditions for growing and proliferating similar to what they would enjoy inside an animal.
Cell lines are collections of cells established from a single cell and therefore are uniform and genetically identical. In the context of cultivating meat, it is important to develop a stable cell line from the original stem cell sample taken from an animal. This will ensure that, over time, the cells are able to replicate at scale and maintain the necessary and desirable characteristics to produce high-quality, uniform end products consistently and efficiently.
Cell differentiation is the process by which immature cells develop and adopt the characteristics, form and function of mature cells. In the context of cultured meat, cell differentiation refers to stem cells taking on the characteristics of mature cells, that is, muscle cells (myocytes) or fat cells (adipocytes). The resulting differentiated cells are used in advanced processing and bio ink formulations.
Cell incubation is a stage during cell cultivation in which cells remain in an incubator. This supports optimal temperature, humidity and other conditions they need to thrive. In the context of how Steakholder Foods, formerly MeaTech 3D, cultivates meat, incubation is where cells mature after being 3D printed and coalesce into real meat tissue.
Cell culture media
Cell culture media is the solution in which cells are grown. It is formulated to simulate the conditions a cell would have inside an animal. Cell culture media includes amino acids, vitamins, inorganic salts, glucose, and growth factors.
Growth factors are naturally occurring chemicals that stimulate cell growth and differentiation. This is a component of cell medium and one of the reasons the cost of cultivating meat is currently so high.
Industry 4.0 and food
Industry 4.0 typically refers to the implementation of smart technologies to automate traditional manufacturing and industrial practices. While animal agriculture is not explicitly included in industry 4.0, it will play a strong role in how we farm and manufacture food in the future. Industry 4.0 will include technologies, such as bioreactors and 3D printers to create more eco-friendly, animal-based protein options (i.e., cultured/cultivated meats) for feeding the world’s growing population. Bioreactors will grow and develop cell-based bio inks for 3D bioprinters which will then create the structure, texture and appearance of farmed meat. The use of real, lab-multiplied animal cells will provide the authentic taste and feel of meat products made from slaughtered animals.
Just-in-time meat production
Cultured meats can be created where and when they are needed and are not affected by birthing seasons, weather, feed shortages, diseases, etc., like conventional meat farming. Clean meat factories can produce meat in and for areas where it is generally considered inhospitable for raising livestock, such as in a desert. This creates the potential for a steady supply of meat regardless of the time of year or location. Eventually, the goal is for cultured meats to be made on demand.
Mouthfeel refers to the sensations associated with food or drink on the human palette. Fats and other elements in foods, such as salts, sugars and acid, work together to create a physical sensation in the mouth that influences our eating experience.
In order to replicate premium meat products, such as steak, which is thick and structured, cells must grow on an edible frame called a scaffold. Cells adhere to scaffolds which help signal them to proliferate, differentiate and eventually mature into tissue.
Stem cell harvesting
Stem cell harvesting is the process of ethically collecting a sample of stem cells from an animal.
Bio ink is biomaterial fed into a 3D bioprinter for the purpose of printing meat. Bio inks are formulated from cell lines and other materials developed in-house. In the 3D bioprinting process, muscle and fat cells are deposited with precision in the desired location. Bio inks include muscle inks which contain muscle cells, fat inks with at cells, and scaffolding inks that contain scaffolding material. Bio inks have in them cell nutrients which is critical to keeping cells alive and healthy.
3D printed meat
3D printed meat is real beef, chicken or pork that consists of cultivated fat and muscle cells and bioprinted using an advanced proprietary process. First, stem cells are isolated from tissue samples and multiplied. When the stem cells reach sufficient cellular mass, they are formulated into a bio ink for the 3D bioprinter. The meat’s structure is then printed using a digital design file. The printed product is placed in an incubator to mature while the stem cells differentiate into fat and muscle cells. When the fat and muscle cells develop into fat and muscle tissue, a whole cut of beef, chicken or pork is complete. When the technology is fully developed, the potential is that whole cuts of meat will be printed with perfect precision and uniformity.
3D printed steak
A 3D printed steak is a real beef steak that consists of cultivated bovine fat and muscle cells and bioprinted using an advanced proprietary process. First, stem cells are isolated from tissue samples and multiplied. When the stem cells reach sufficient cellular mass, they are formulated into a bio ink for the 3D bioprinter. The steak structure is then printed using a digital design file. The printed product is placed in an incubator to mature while the stem cells differentiate into fat and muscle cells. Then, when the fat and muscle cells develop into fat and muscle tissue, the steak is complete.