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Cultured chicken hybrid: KFC develops 3D-printed nuggets from chicken cells and plants

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3D Bioprinting will alternate printing layers of chicken cells and plant-based ingredients. The finished nugget will be made from roughly 80% plant-based material and 20% cell-based.

FLORA SOUTHEY: KFC is collaborating with biotech research lab 3D Bioprinting Solutions in Moscow to bring hybrid nuggets to the Russian market. The project aims to create the world’s first laboratory-produced chicken nugget, designed to mimic the taste and texture of Yum! Brands-owned KFC’s conventional counterpart. According to the partnership, bioprinted meat, or ‘biomeat’, has ‘several advantages’. Firstly, biomeat has exactly the same microelements as the original product, minus the ‘various additives’ used in traditional livestock farming.

Lab-grown meat is also considered to be more ethical, as no animals are harmed in the process. And from an environmental perspective, some say production methods produce fewer carbon emissions than conventional meat. Researchers from the universities of Oxford and Amsterdam, for example, argue that growing meat from cells cuts energy consumption by more than half, reduces greenhouse gas emissions 25-fold, and uses 100 times less land when compared to traditional farm-based meat production.

So how exactly does bioprinting meat work?… The technology is founded on an extrusion-based bioprinter, which prints ‘bottom-up’, Khesuani explained. In this way, it is similar to a 3D printer of plastics – a technology currently used by a wide range of industries. The bioprinter prints onto a support material known as a ‘scaffold’ that allows cells to grow and form a 3D tissue. This step ‘looks like inkjet printing’, the co-founder elaborated.

3D Bioprinting Solutions will alternate between printing layers of chicken cells and plant-based ingredients until the entire nugget is printed… KFC is responsible for adding breading and spices ‘to achieve the signature KFC taste’. The finished nugget will be made from roughly 80% plant-based material (ingredients to be disclosed at launch) and 20% cell-based. This means that if the partnership is successful, KFC will not only become the world’s first vendor of a cell-based meat, but the world’s rst vendor of a hybrid cell-based and plant-based product. SOURCE…

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