Company Secures $55 Million To Grow Meat Burgers In Labs
Yes, you read right. A company is growing burgers in a lab and wants you to eat them.
Dutch company Mosa Meat, famed for growing the first burger in a laboratory seven years ago, has secured multi-million dollar funding to further their company and bring the lab-grown meat to the forefront of the consumer market.
$55 million in new funding has been raised so Mosa can continue the development of what’s touted as the next advancement of food technology.
According to Sifted, Luxemburg’s Blue Horizon Ventures has led the funding and intends to expand Mosa Meat’s Maastricht factory so it can produce products for the whole of Europe and obtain licenses for a number of countries.
But what are lab-grown burgers?
Well, first of all they are actually meat-based and not artificial. Despite no actual animals being tended to, Mosa do produce real meat burgers, just in a lab rather than be rearing an animal.
‘In the next 3 years, we aim to scale up to one industrial-sized production line, work with regulators to demonstrate the safety of cultivated meat, and introduce the first cultivated beef to consumers,’ says Sarah Lucas, who is the head of production for Mosa.
With the start-up now having huge backing, they’ve around 50 scientists on board and have already managed to reduce the individual production cost per burger by 88 times since they began in 2013, the company are making progress and look set to continue to advance their research and inevitably their production of the burgers.
Incredibly, the initial cost per burger when they started out was €250,000. Now the project predicts they will narrow the costs down to just €9.
But here’s where it all get a bit gross and science-y. Mosa had such huge costs because the serum the cells were grown in, which was fetal bovine serum (FBS), was so expensive. Despite FBS being found in a cow’s uterus, the costs for just one litre of the serum was between £300 and £700, and needed 50 to produce just one burger.
But having been able to remove FBS, the process and costs have dramatically lowered.
‘Our team successfully removed FBS by ensuring that the essential elements of FBS are in the growth medium, but sourced animal-free,’ Lucas stated. An agricultural replacement is being worked upon as they remove FBS and replace it with what’s described as a pharma-grade equivalent that’s proving more cost effective.
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