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DBT funds research to ‘cultivate’ meat in lab

Topic covered:

Biotechnology related issues.


DBT funds research to ‘cultivate’ meat in lab


What to study?

For prelims and mains: what is cultivable meat, how is it developed and the need for it?


Context: The Department of Biotechnology has decided to fund the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) and the National Research Centre on Meat for research on cell-based meat.


What is it?

Cell-based meat, also called clean meat or cultured meat, is nutritionally equivalent to conventional meat, and tastes, smells, looks and feels exactly the same. The only difference is in the way it is produced.

Rather than raising livestock and slaughtering them for meat, cell-based meat is produced through ‘cellular agriculture’, with animal cells being cultivated into meat.


Why It’s the Future?

Lab-grown meats beat the old-fashioned kind in two areas: They’re better for body and they’re better for the environment. Clean meats are grown in a sterile environment, meaning that you’ll avoid bacteria found in traditional meats. The environmental benefits might outweigh your personal benefit, though: As the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization notes, animals raised for food make up 14.5 percent of total carbon emissions across the globe.

According to one study, replacing livestock with lab-grown meats will cut down on the land needed by 99 percent, and the water needed by 90 percent. Granted, those savings are off-set by the energy needed to power the lab itself, but it’s still a net benefit. By shifting to lab-grown, you’ll save resources that will be increasingly in demand as the world’s population continues ticking upwards — by some estimates, demand for meat and seafood will double by 2050, reaching 1.2 trillion pounds.


Sources: the Hindu.