The mouth-watering chicken biryani and the delectable kebabs, the flavoursome nihari, the lip-smacking mutton gravy are just some of the many non-vegetarian dishes. When meat and chicken are cooked well then a hardcore non-vegetarian will never say no to the same. However, the flip side is some also stop eating meat and chicken if they get to know what happens to their meal before it goes in the pan.
If you love your meats and are also worried about the cruelty they go through then worry not – here is some good news for you! Recently, the researchers at IIT Guwahati have developed lab-grown meat as a healthy and cruelty-free alternative to the traditional forms of meat. Not only are they environment-friendly but they can also be customised as it is procreated through tissue culture.
Companies like, Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods have successfully come up with alternatives for the animal-based proteins. These companies use plants and recreate them to provide a flavoursome, juicy texture of meats. However, this particular meat developed by the researchers was developed at the tissue engineering and biomaterial laboratory at IIT Guwahati.
As per the researchers, the final product can also be customised according to the customer’s needs. The nutritional values can be easily infused without compromising with the quality and taste of the meat. While preparing this meat there has been no use of growth factors, antibiotics, hormones, or animal serum. Thus is qualifies the ethical concerns.
How is the Lab-Grown Meat Customised
Dr Mandal, from the research team, states that muscle progenitor cells are taken as small biopsies from the animal. These are further grown on edible materials and bases. The team has also got a patent for this novel technique. The team is also trying to grow cartilage cells, fat cells, muscles and bone cells in different layers. This form of meat is being cultured and developed inexpensively. It is also being patented in the laboratory.
What is even more interesting is that the meat can easily be made fatty or lean, just by controlling the method of production. It can also be made into different shapes and sizes. Care is being taken to increase the nutrient factor of this meat by introducing edible components. The end result is a cruelty-free and ethical meat product, which can be preserved as well.
Are you ready to Switch Over to the Lab-grown Meat
Owing to global warming caused by the meat farmers, the industry is under tremendous pressure to bid adieu to the age-old practices of animal husbandry. Also, the industry is famous for treating the animals in a cruel manner and billions of animals being killed to keep up with the demand-supply chain.
If this was not enough, there are reports that almost 4,000 litres water is required to produce 1 kg chicken. The requirement for bigger animals is higher. Moreover, the industry bears the responsibility of wasting water, and unchecked levels of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide and methane. Can you believe it that the carbon footprint of this industry is way higher than all the modes of transportation in the world? Also, economics plays a major role as livestock rearing can be an expensive proposition.
According to Dr Mandal, lab-grown meat is much more beneficial since it is reasonable, can be produced in mass and is nutritious as well. However, what he is worried about are the effects the lab-grown meat may have in the long run. Having said this, he feels that testing it for impact may take over decades and in a country like ours, with set ideologies, the concept of lab-grown meat is still a few years away.
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