Innovating Alternatives within the F&B Industry to Meet the Global Demand for Meat Products
While the global demand for meat has been steadily increasing1, the reliance upon animals to meet this demand is not without complications. In fact, our world’s collective love of meat might one day result in “increased environmental pollution, energy consumption, animal suffering, and the proliferation of animal-borne disease.”2 How can we avoid such a future?
According to a Times editorial, synthetic meat products created in the laboratories of food and beverage companies instead of originating on a farm will come to dominate our supermarkets.3 Still, current efforts in the development of synthetic meat and other food items are in infancy. In order to accelerate the field, more information about precursor cells, how the cells can be grown in bioreactors and the types of additives and preservatives to add remain a working challenge. Yet the efforts of food and beverage companies to tackle this problem could be significantly alleviated through the use of efficient laboratory tools, such as electronic laboratory notebooks.
From Laboratory to the Table with the Help of Electronic Laboratory Notebooks
Electronic laboratory notebooks are an essential component in many modern labs and organizations, including food and beverage firms. With the security measures to protect information, while still enabling collaborative efforts between departments, electronic laboratory notebooks have been shown to lower costs, reduce compliance risks and improve productivity.
In the context of creating synthetic meat products, these factors are essential for furthering the goals of food and beverage companies interested in creating synthetic meats because they enable researchers to address specific challenges within the field in a more effective manner. For example:
Muscle Cells: In order to produce solid meat, food and beverage companies should consider genetic engineering techniques that will enable the fast proliferation of muscle cells.4 Tissue engineering should be explored, in particular the different constructs, genes and promoters that will change the ways in which the tissue divides. With the utilization of electronic laboratory notebooks, the diversity of these constructs can be easily stored and accessed so that scientists can predict the likelihood that a new experiment will be successful.
Medicum: If the cells are to grow, they will need food in the form of culture medium as an energy source. However, culture medium differs widely in additives, types of nutrients and other components. Moreover, different types of muscle cells (i.e. turkey, pig, etc.) will likely require different types of media. In order to keep track and ensure that all conditions are being addressed effectively, food and beverage companies would benefit from the use of electronic laboratory notebooks. Linking information between quality assurance tests of both cultured cells and their media will also enable food and beverage companies to keep tabs on their supplies and determine the specifics should something go wrong—for example, if a contamination should occur.
Electronic laboratory notebooks provide an excellent method to improve existing workflows and procedures within a company. Especially as food and beverage companies begin to explore their options and abilities in producing in vitro tissue, it will be imperative that data is stored in an organized manner, especially as modifications of existing techniques occur. To learn how the BIOVIA Notebook can serve your company’s needs, please contact us today.
- “Meat Production Continues to Rise,” http://www.worldwatch.org/node/5443 ↩
- “Breakthrough: Synthetic Meat Made from Stem Cells,” May 20, 2014, http://io9.gizmodo.com/meat-made-from-stem-cells-is-the-food-of-the-future-1579003346 ↩
- “Meat the Future,” August 6, 2013, http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/opinion/leaders/article3835076.ece ↩
- “In vitro meat,” December 16, 2015, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/In_vitro_meat ↩