Eat meat without killing animals, courtesy IIT Guwahati

Eat meat without killing animals, courtesy IIT Guwahati

(File Photo for representation)

Is it possible to have meat without slaughtering the animal or fowl?

Yes, says a team of researchers from IIT Guwahati, who have come up with tissue engineered meat in their laboratory, which is equally nutritious and tasty. 

The team led by Biman B Mandal, an associate professor of the department of biosciences and bioengineering, has already received a patent for production for consumption.

"Here muscle progenitor cells isolated from animals via small biopsies are grown on edible material base. Fat cells, cartilage cells or bone cells can be grown in conjunction with the muscle stem cells in different layers and is now being tried out. These tissue engineered meat are being cultured and grown in inexpensive culture media recently developed and patented in our laboratory," said a statement issued by the team.

It said that the method can be manipulated depending on whether the consumer demands lean and fatty meat product or a solid dry meat product to be available in various shapes and sizes.

"Daily edible components are being used to make the support matrix in order to increase the nutrient content. At the penultimate stage, bioreactors will be used for large scale production of this product to achieve a yield of approximately 100 chickens from one chicken," it said.

They claimed that usage of external chemicals like hormones, animal serum, growth factors or antibiotics have also been restricted making it safe on ethical concerns.

"The lab grown meat will have immense value in the Indian as well as the foreign market as it is nutritious and can be tuned for the high in demand needs of fast-food joints. Since our affordable meat product is expected to mimic natural meat in terms of taste, appearance, nutritive values, and will prevent slaughtering of animals, the same can cater to the growing demands of our country in the future," it said.

Stating that the meat industry was facing tremendous pressure to meet the growing demand, the researchers said, "Around 4000 litre of water are required to produce 1 kg chicken meat and more than 8,000 litres of water are required to produce just 1 kg of mutton. The livestock industry also contributes to wastewater and more greenhouse gas emissions than all of the world’s transport combined. Moreover, billions of animals are killed each year for meat. The lab-grown meat will open new vistas towards cruelty-free food thereby saving the environment as well as the animals."

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