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Environmental Impacts of Cultured Meat Production

20 August 2011

Research is taking place to manufacture cultured meat – meat produced in vitro using tissue engineering techniques.

The cultured meat is being developed as a potentially healthier and more efficient alternative to conventional meat.

A study by Hanna L. Tuomisto from University of Oxford, Wildlife Conservation Research Unit, and M. Joost Teixeira de Mattos from University of Amsterdam, Swammerdam Institute for Life Sciences, Molecular Microbial Physiology Group looked at the environmental impacts of meat production in this manner.

A life cycle assessment (LCA) research method was used for assessing environmental impacts of large-scale cultured meat production.

Cyanobacteria hydrolysate was assumed to be used as the nutrient and energy source for muscle cell growth.

The results showed that production of 1000 kg cultured meat requires 26–33 GJ energy, 367–521 m3 water, 190–230 m2 land, and emits 1900–2240 kg CO2-eq GHG emissions.

In comparison to conventionally produced European meat, cultured meat involves approximately seven to 45 per cent lower energy use.

The researchers say that only poultry has lower energy use.

As far as greenhouse gas emissions were concerned, the cultured meat production was 78–96 per cent lower and land use was 99 per cent lower.

There was also an 82–96 per cent lower water use depending on the product compared.

Despite high uncertainty, the researchers say that it is concluded that the overall environmental impacts of cultured meat production are substantially lower than those of conventionally produced meat.

Further Reading

- You can view the full report by clicking here.

August 2011

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