Brazil at the forefront in the development of cultivated meat

The new produce resembles sassami
calendar icon 10 February 2023
clock icon 2 minute read

Embrapa Swine and Poultry (SC) is at the forefront of a pioneering study in Brazil to develop chicken meat grown under controlled laboratory conditions, according to a press release from the organisation. The new product, which resembles sassami, in the form of prototypes of boneless chicken breast fillets, should be ready for nutritional and sensory analysis by the end of 2023. Also characterized as an alternative protein, the technology recreates animal tissues in the laboratory from animal cells, providing meat analogous to natural ones. It is an innovation that meets current trends in consumption and value addition.

The project was approved by an international competitive notice from The Good Food Institute (GFI), a non-governmental organization that acts in fundraising and finances global projects. Among the 22 projects selected in 2021, five are Brazilian, among them Embrapa Swine and Poultry.

The increase in protein consumption over the years, new eating habits and concern for sustainability have aroused in the scientific community the need to expand the technology necessary to produce food and meet the growing global food demand. With attention to new production technologies, the cultivated protein is one of the alternatives in view. To produce it, cells are extracted from an animal and grown (grocted), first in a nutrient medium on a laboratory scale, then in large bioreactors. The result translates into the expansion of the ability to produce protein, diversifying the sources of production. The final product can be used to produce unstructured foods, such as hamburgers, sausages and meatballs or structured foods, such as fillets and steaks.

"It's a subject discussed for some time. But the gain in scale is happening now because technology is becoming more viable, and, therefore, investments in the development of these alternative proteins begin to keep up with this moment and are getting bigger," explains Vivian Feddern, research-leader of the project. In his evaluation, the advantage of investing now in this rising market is evident. "In addition to the technological vanguard, we will be able to offer alternative technology and/or proteins to companies in Brazil and importing countries of livestock products

Embrapa's option to study by chicken meat took into account the fact that it is one of the most versatile proteins, consumed throughout the national territory, in addition to one of the most nutritionally complete foods, important for healthy diets. Another advantage of the study concerns access to Embrapa's poultry genetic bank Porcines and Poultry.

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