A large part of the human population can be termed omnivores, and for the most part, meat constitutes a daily necessity in most cultures. The significant problem that the world is facing is the gradual increase in population which means that some of the fundamental ways of acquiring food would have to be changed as they are likely to fall short. Due to global urbanizations, even animal husbandry is becoming an unsustainable task. The environmental impact endured to maintain mega-scale livestock farming in terms of land and water costs is untenable. Moreover, it also increases greenhouse gas emissions and takes a toll on the planet's general environment. Another concern that has come up with animal diet intake is the inhuman exploitation of lower species for food by mankind.
To put a dent in these problems, researchers have come up with the idea of biofabrication of meat muscle tissue. They used techniques of regenerative medicine and cultured millimeter-sized chunks of meat. The alignment of myotubes helped in imitating the mouthfeel and texture, which is similar to that of steak. This unique advancement may change the Beef Market's face in the coming future as it might provide a credible steak substitute to consumers. This is because; this type of steak will not only be a solution to the growing environmental problems but can also put a stop to all the moral debates concerning animal cruelty.
The team stated that they did a morphological, functional, and food feature analysis that concluded that the newly developed muscle tissue has many potentials. Breaking of force measurements proved that the toughness of the tissue came close to that of natural beef over time. Most importantly, researchers did not find any microbial contamination as that is directly related to cleanliness, shelf-life, and consumer acceptability.
Several centers worldwide are investing resources towards tissue engineering of cultured meat as it is the way to meet future needs. However, a significant setback for biosynthetic meat is that most of the products are amorphous or granular-like minced meat. They lack the grain and texture that is similar to animal flesh. In this case, to achieve better synthetic meat, myoblasts drawn from commercial beef were cultured in hydrogel modules. This helped in their stacking up, allowing fusion into larger chunks. The optimal scaffolding and electrical stimulation facilitated the promotion of contractility.
The new method might be the trailblazer for further development of a larger production of real cultured meat with the ability to replace animal sources or supplement them. However, there are still big hurdles that need to be overcome regarding consumer acceptance and cultural sensibilities.
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