As the world population continues to increase, so does the demand for meat. One source estimates that the consumption of meat is expected to increase by 1.4% annually; another source found that from 2012 to 2021, the world consumed 340 billion metric tons of meat. The enormous amount of meat produced each year has had a critical impact on the environment. Approximately 31% of worldwide human-caused greenhouse gas emissions come from agri-food systems and traditional meat production. These emissions are contributing greatly to environmental disasters as well as global warming and creating an urgent need for scientists to find a more sustainable option.
The rise of cultivated meat has garnered hope from all sides, offering a transition from conventional cattle-farming to a process that utilizes living animal tissue to produce meat products that are like conventionally farmed meat in terms of nutritional value, taste, and texture. However, the process is still considered young technology and faces a myriad of challenges before it’s safe for human consumption.
Below, we’ll review the top three challenges to cultivated meat production and how Hamilton's Technology is enabling organizations to take concrete steps towards cost-efficient cultivated meat production.
Despite the huge advancements made in the cultivated meat industry in the last ten years, three significant challenges still face the industry. It’s due to these challenges that the price of creating cultivated meat remains expensive and inaccessible.
1. Process Optimization
To create cultivated meat, organizations must rely on the use of stem cells. Various parts of the stem cells can be used to create meat; however, it’s costly and time consuming to develop stem cell lines that are suitable enough for production. Even after these cell lines are collected, they have a very short shelf life with most expiring before they’re able to be used in production. Additionally, creating acceptable cell lines can take anywhere from 6- to 18-months, time that most organizations don’t have. Until organizations are able to streamline the process and maintain the quality of cell lines, the creation of cultivated meat will continue to be a long, expensive process.
2. Media Optimization
Arguably, the most expensive part of the cultivated meat process is media preparation. Essentially, scientists use cell culture media in order to sustain cellular growth, and without media, it would be nearly impossible for scientists to grow cells in an artificial environment. According to the Good Food Institute, the costs of creating cell culture media will make up 55 to 95% of marginal costs of cultivated meat. Most organizations don’t have this type of budget, making it incredibly costly to create cost-effective cultivated meat.
3. Upscaling and Scale Up
Another major hurdle to cost-efficient cultivated meat production is the lack of scalability. According to the National Library of Medicine: “Cell culture with current conventional planar culture systems, presents significant limitations related to their low surface to volume ratio…and is therefore not scalable.” Ultimately, the lack of scalability in growing culture cells only allows organizations to create a limited number of cells which reduces the amount of cultivated meat that can be created.
Additionally, as organizations grow and the demand for meat increases, it’s more difficult for organizations to maintain optimum process parameters which can reduce the overall quality of meat. Combined, these three factors create an incredibly expensive, time-consuming cultivated meat process. Luckily, there is technology available that increases yield while simultaneously stabilizing cost and streamlining the meat cultivation process. That technology? Hamilton.
How Hamilton Overcomes Meat Cultivation Process Challenges
Hamilton’s unique collection of sensors enables organizations to drastically reduce production costs around cultivated meat. From maintaining an optimum environment for cell culture creation to providing organizations with real-time measurements to ensure viable cell density, Hamilton can enhance processes while simultaneously reducing costs.
Viable cell density sensor: Hamilton’s Incyte Arc Viable Cell Density sensor provides production with direct measurements of produced meat mass. Regardless of changes in media, dead cells, microcarriers, or debris, the sensor provides real-time accurate metrics, providing organizations with more control which results in more yield, lower operating costs, and more reproducibility.
Dissolved CO2 sensor: To create high-quality cultivated meat, CO2 levels must remain in an appropriate range. The CO2NTROL Sensor provides real-time measurements of dissolved CO2, enabling production to create ideal conditions for cell growth.
pH Sensor: By actively measuring pH levels throughout the cultivation process, organizations can drastically speed up cell growth. Coupled with the biocompatible Foodlyte electrolyte, the pH Sensor ensures high-quality food production while keeping costs low.
- Dissolved oxygen sensor: One of the most important factors for cellular respiration and cellular growth is oxygen. The VisiFerm RS485 Sensor speeds up cell growth and increases product output by measuring DO in-line which provides tighter process control.
Another way Hamilton empowers organizations within the cultivated meat industry is by overcoming challenges with offline measurement. Without this data, organizations don’t have the information necessary to not only improve production processes, but identify exactly where to reduce costs. Some additional challenges of offline measurement include:
Planning of resources (time and money)
Can cause contamination
Creates information gaps
No ability for process control
Variation of measurement can result in handling deviation
Product is taken out of the process
Hamilton’s real-time sensors eliminate the challenges that come with offline measurement and provide organizations with all the data necessary for optimum process control. Additionally, with this data, businesses can create as much yield as possible per day at a fraction of the cost.
While significant challenges still remain around creating a cost-efficient cultivated meat production process, Hamilton enables organizations to take a huge step in the right direction. Real-time data captured by our sensors directly measures products and critical process parameters. This ultimately results in better batch-to-batch reproducibility which enables you to increase consistency across R&D to production. Finally, our sensors allow you to automate many of your processes, allowing you to avoid labor and monetary waste.
Discover Hamilton's process sensor solutions for cultivated meat production, from hybrid plant based meat to fully lab-grown meat processes. Our sensors and accessories help overcome the challenges of scaling up cultivated meat production by enabling better process control and optimization with real-time measurement. Hamilton sensors for in-line measurement of viable cell density, pH, dissolved oxygen, and dissolved CO2 can take your process to the next level. Contact us today and find out how Hamilton sensors can help you advance your cultured meat process.