Cultivated meat — meat grown in a lab — has got investors, entrepreneurs, meat eaters, plant eaters and climate advocates very excited. It is easy to see why.
This begs the question: What if we could grow meat in large bioreactors the way we brew beer? After all, the process being used by lab meat companies is similar to the fermentation of yeast but instead works with mammalian cells taken from a small biopsy of the animal and combined with a growth media.
The pitch from lab meat proponents: We could have a juicy, meaty hamburger without the guilt of animal slaughter or the carbon emissions.
因此，投资已经涌入。根据crunchbase, cellular agriculture (another name for lab-grown meat) garnered $1.2 billion from investors, and 2021 was on track for a similar amount.
去年年底，未来的肉饲养$347 millionfrom big food players Tyson and Archer-Daniels-Midland (ADM). Just Eats, the Singapore-based company that actually has a cultivated chicken product on the market, raised2.67亿美元in 2021. The company is working to open a大规模栽培的肉plant in Qatar. And in November, Upside, the Berkeley, California-based cultivated meat producer,opened its $50 million EPIC(Engineering, Production and Innovation Center) facility in the East Bay across from San Francisco.
David Humbird, a chemical engineer who spent two years researching the industry, did a培养肉类行业的技术经济分析。使用成本模型，潜在的技术创新和未来扩展，他可以计算出的实验室培养肉类的最低价格在每磅肉类产品17至23美元之间。在带有标记的杂货店中，很快就会上升到每磅40美元。In December, even with the current high rate of inflation, a pound of ground beef was a$ 5不到$ 5, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
但是，栽培肉的支持者很快指出了价格下跌的地方。最大的是用于细胞培养基 - 细胞生长所需的营养泥浆。Good Food Institute的供应链经理Zak Weston表示，该投入的成本今年“显着”。还有一种基于植物的选择（以前媒体来自胎牛血清，费用约为$ $1升1,684.00if it is United States origin) is on the market. According to anindustry survey byGFI，大多数栽培肉类公司预计到2022年将支付低于每个垃圾的10美元。许多公司正在开发自己的媒体，包括Mosa Meat，报告说80x cost reductionin media for its in-house developed growth media.
“五年前，您必须从牛血清中获得增长因素，这是方程中非常昂贵的一部分，” Rob Harris说。邪教食品科学，一个专注于耕种肉类公司的加拿大投资集团。“今天我可以从我北部三个小时开车到埃德蒙顿，我可以买Future Fields’ growth factor that’s derived from fruit flies. That didn’t exist before. Those people who are saying that it can’t be done, well, you didn’t have that tool at your disposal when you were doing it."
对于一个人来说，上升空间正在使用基于植物的媒体来降低成本。它针对其耕种鸡肉的有机特色鸡的价格，该鸡肉与Dominique Crenn合作生产，Dominique Crenn是三星级米其林厨师，也是旧金山的餐厅Atelier Crenn的所有者。
Those people who are saying that it can’t be done, well, you didn’t have that tool at your disposal when you were doing it.
Raising and slaughtering animals is inherently a messy process — fecal matter, blood, bacteria and inedible organs are involved, and processing facilities are beholden to certain sterilization requirements. The industry is banking on those practices being grandfathered into the new cultured meat sector, he said.
Of course, the fastest way to reduce costs is to scale. Which brings us to challenge No. 2.
“科学概念的基本证明已经完成，” Upside的首席运营官艾米·陈（Amy Chen）说。“现在这是一个缩放练习。我们使用的许多组件不一定是在尺度上存在的，因此我们需要提供数百万英镑或数十亿英镑。”
According to that report on cultivated meat by McKinsey, to build out cultivated meat production to reach 1 percent of the protein market would need between 220 million to 440 million liters of fermentation capacity, or roughly 88 to 176 Olympic-size swimming pools. For perspective, the current biopharma industry has less than 10 swimming pools of capacity.
韦斯顿认为，耕种的肉类部门可以优化价值链中所需的目标（速度和规模）中的每个步骤，而不是在生物制药中优先考虑的目标 - 精度和安全。
韦斯顿（Weston）称这些创新的水果低点，但诸如加州大学伯克利（UC Berkeley）替代肉类实验室研究总监的Ricardo San Martin等怀疑论者和发酵科学家还有另一个名字：生物学限制，A.K.A.问题3号。
Challenge 3: Biological limitations
This is the question upon which the skeptics and believers really diverge: Is it actually possible to scale cellular agriculture to a point at which production is economical or are there biological and physical limitations that are impossible to innovate beyond?
On the science side, the basic question is, how many cells can you pack in a fermenter without the cells dying in the growth process? And will that be enough cells for growing meat to be cost-effective? According to San Martin, the answer is no.
San Martin’s big issue with the scaling is viscosity. According to him, above a cell certain limit, you can’t even stir the cells in the bioreactors because the density has become so high. The media between them stops acting like water and instead becomes more like a very thick soup. And if you can’t stir the slurry, you can’t keep an even temperature or keep it oxygenated. And then there are the byproducts and waste products that will suffocate the cells anyway. The result is that the cells will die in these large bioreactors instead of producing the scaling cellular agriculture companies are hoping for.
"So no matter how much you try to overcome that barrier, you are bound by the limits of biological cell growth," he said. "It’s just wishful thinking."
The way fermentation works with yeast in alcohol brewing or even in a fungi, such as the mechanism used by companyQuorn, which makes mushroom-based meat products, does not work the same way in mammalian cells. The yeast process is anaerobic, meaning it doesn’t need oxygen. According to Celia Homyak, program manager of the Alternative Meat Lab at UC Berkeley, mammalian cells are more sensitive to high cell density, low nutrient needs and high waste products than fungi and thus die much more easily during the cultivation process.
当被要求进一步详细介绍哪种技术时，通过电子邮件回应了Epic“也是一个创新中心，它将使我们能够在我们准备更大规模的情况下开发下一代生产技术。大型哺乳动物细胞文化非常好established and has already successfully addressed many of the challenges you have identified. We have designed EPIC’s equipment to allow us to simulate much larger cultivation vessels in terms of pressure, gas exchange, shear stress and other factors to understand how cells are likely to react and what solutions are necessary to ensure robust cell growth." The company did not provide specifics.
天生初创公司必须积极和充满希望and upbeat, sure that the answer is getting smart people with enough resources to work on finding the solutions to tough problems. Katz, who wrote the analysis on the cultivated meat market for McKinsey, told me that he thinks there’s enough motivation and enough smart people working on the problem that they will find a solution. GFI’s Weston said the industry has yet to face a barrier that is "truly insurmountable."
Josh Pollock, Fluga’s cofounder at Cell Ag Tech, is a bit more measured.
"There isn’t an idea that’s a game changer," he said. "It is a lot of little things coming together over time with huge investments of capital. So I think what’s needed rather than a silver bullet is investment in the industry and patience."
But if San Martin is correct that these biological limitations can’t innovate around, the future of cultivated meat is in need of a significant pivot. All the patience, resources and brains in the world can’t create a technological breakthrough that isn’t possible.
So cellular agriculture has a scaling problem. And a cost problem. And, depending on who you talk to, an unsolvable biological problem. But what if the solution isn’t to try to create an entire meat replacement industry in a lab but to use the small quantities of the cultured cells to make plant-based meats indistinguishable from the original?
This is a crossover strategy some lab meat companies have already started to embrace. Impossible Foods, for one, uses a plant-based yeast-fermented血红素给它的牛肉更加肉，并且缺乏更好的单词，血腥的风味。Cell AG Tech使用基于植物的淀粉作为实验室种植的白色鱼类细胞的结构nigiri sushi prototypeso the final product is more like a traditional filet than just a slurry of fish cells.
Using real — albeit cultivated — meat cells in plant-based products could potentially attract non-vegetarians to the alternative protein market, a group that desperately needs to get onboard with moving away from animal meat products if the world is to make an impact on reducing the emissions from livestock. This technique could also dramatically improve the flavor, mouthfeel and overall experience of plant-based products that sometimes have strange aftertastes or textures dissimilar to the meat they are trying to emulate. It could also make the prices of cultivated meat more accessible to the average consumer.
这些创业公司可以转变成为成分companies instead of a meat company. But the cultivated meat companies I spoke with are still focusing on creating a cultivated meat product that uses 100 percent real cells. They don’t see themselves as ingredient companies. They see themselves as meat producers of the future. Cell Ag Tech is still chasing a full-fledged fish filet using only cell-based materials and sees its nigiri prototype as just a step in the process.
当被问及食品作家乔·法斯勒（Joe Fassler）的一篇反柜台文章概述了对耕种肉类的可伸缩性的反对意见时，Cell AG Tech的Pollack告诉我：
“I just really think that the future is going to be extremely unkind to that article. It's questioning the timeline, I think that's absolutely appropriate. But in the end, it's going to happen, and that article is going to look like a relic.”
Hopefully this one will as well.