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An institute affiliated to a Turkish university is developing a reasonable-priced solution to be used in artificial meat production as the world has been working on alternative protein sources due to growing population and dwindling resources.

While it is possible to produce “clean meat” in laboratories using one or two centimeter-sized biopsies taken from animals without killing them, a study that may lower the price of artificial meat is being carried out at the Stem Cell Institute of Ankara University.

Can Akçalı, the vice chairman of the institute, and his team have reached profound stages in their ongoing efforts to make stem cell meat production affordable.

“When it was first produced in the Netherlands in 2013, the price of one kilogram of hamburger was $330,000. Although the cost has dropped to around $2,500-$3,000 with the developments in technology, it is still difficult to reach the consumer in this state,” Akçalı said.

Noting that the astronomical price is due to the high price of Fetal bovine serum (FBS) obtained by removal from the mother’s womb, the academic said that they are trying to lower this price in the laboratory in Ankara and to create much cheaper solutions as an alternative to FBS.

“Today, we can obtain our solution, which we developed as an alternative to FBS, which costs about $400 a liter, for $5 and $10. In this context, we applied for a patent in the U.S. in order to protect the technique we developed,” he added.

“The fact that this solution, which we call biftek [steak in Turkish], was created under natural conditions and no genetic modification has been made, increases the prospects for future use,” he noted.

Nearly 80 companies around the world are currently working on artificial meat production in laboratories.

Data from the U.N.’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) predicts that cellular meat production will meet 10 percent of the total meat production in 2030.


About İsmail Uğural

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