Newcastle lab-grown steak soon at your plate!

The Chief Executive of a Newcastle-based startup spoke to ELN about how his team aims to grow ‘real’ steaks in a laboratory within 12 months

A ‘cleaner’ version of barbeque’s aroma is coming from laboratories in Newcastle.

A biotech startup that started working at Newcastle University promises to make ‘real’ steaks in a laboratory as part of what they describe as a global first breakthrough.

ELN spoke to Dr Che Connon, Chief Executive and Co-Founder of 3D Bio-Tissues about the ambitious project that could potentially make Britain’s farms obsolete.

“We would like to see lab-grown meat served in restaurants in the next five years. We aim to produce the first piece of lab-grown meat next year”, he said.

He added: “By working with farming partners and licencing our technology, the need to kill fewer cattle could significantly reduce methane emissions.

“The demand for high-quality alternative protein sources is high, driven by the critical need to reduce global greenhouse gases, for which livestock farming is responsible for a staggering 24%.”

The company’s process of lab-grown meat production begins when thousands of cells are extracted from a living cow using a “single, painless” biopsy.

Dr Connon continued: “These cells are then put into a bioreactor, where they are added to a chemical growth agent called ‘City-Mix’, which increases the number of cells.

“These are then placed in a cell bank before being transferred to a ‘tissue bioreactor’, which stimulates the cells to turn into the structured fibres you find in muscles.”

The scientist explained that theoretically, the biopsies could be from any animal from pigs to fish and chicken.

He added: “The technology could also be used to make leather and even one day human muscle for grafts. Another area where it could make a seismic difference is in growing the meat or skin of exotic and endangered animals to disrupt some of the illegal wildlife trade.”

He said his company is the only technology provider that is looking to licence its product to produce 100% meat, while other companies are focusing on sausage and bacon which include additional ingredients.

Image: 3D Bio-Tissues

Image: 3D Bio-Tissues

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