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PULSED ELECTRIC FIELD: New magnetic method to make cruelty-free lab-grown meat

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The process creates a replacement for the animal-derived serum typically relied on to grow meat from stem cells in the lab - and could make cultured meat greener, cheaper and safer.

IAN RANDALL: Cultured or lab-grown meat offers a potentially attractive alternative to the intensive animal farming that underpins the global meat industry, a new study has found. It has the potential to be more ethical, to lower meat’s carbon footprint, and to reduce the risk of disease transmission among animals. However, present methods of culturing meat in the lab rely on either growth stimulating drugs, genetic engineering, or alternatively the use of other animal products…

The animal product in question is typically foetal bovine serum, a mixture grimly harvested from the foetuses of pregnant cows slaughtered by the dairy and meat industries. This animal serum is then fed to cultured stem cells — harvested from live animals via a simple biopsy — to help them to grow and proliferate.

A tragic irony inherent to the use of foetal bovine serum is that the key molecules it contains come from the muscles of the slaughtered animal, meaning that it should be possible to stimulate their fabrication in production-scale bioreactors in a laboratory setting. However, researchers have struggled to achieve this in reality, placing a limit on the scalability and commercial viability of lab-grown meat products.

In a new study, biophysicist Professor Alfredo Franco-Obregón of the National University of Singapore and his colleagues have developed an unconventional method of stimulating the growth of cell-based meat — using a finely tuned pulsed magnetic field.

They have applied their technique to the culturing of so-called myogenic stem cells, which are found in both skeletal muscles and bone marrow tissue… Prof. Franco-Obregón: “We are very excited about the possibility that magnetically-stimulated secretome release may one day replace the need for foetal bovine serum in the production of cultured meat.” “The growth-inducing secretomes can be harvested in the lab safely and conveniently, and also at low cost. SOURCE…

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