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Foie gras back on the menu

A new Japanese company is aiming to produce foie gras liver pâté from cultured meat, which it hopes could be commercial by 2021-22[4]. Chemist Yuki Hanyu is CEO of Integriculture, which develops large scale tissue engineering technology to produce cultured (in vitro) ‘clean’ meat. The company is culturing chicken liver, pancreas, muscle and intestine cells.

The cultured meat is produced in a bioreactor with a ‘culture medium’, which is typically a liquid or gelatinous substance containing nutrients that supports the growth of cells. It can take 14 to 20 days for meat to grow from a microscopic scale to a visible scale.

The company is receiving mentorship from an accelerator programme run by Tech Planter as well as collaborating with Tokyo Women’s Medical University on an algae-based designer meat.

Hanyu previously launched the Shojinmeat Project in 2014 as a citizens’ science project to begin growing meat from animal cells and to engage the Japanese public with the concept of cultured meat[5]. Today, around 30 volunteers work in the project’s shared laboratory space in Tokyo. The team includes writers, designers and business experts, as well as specialists in scientific research across a variety of fields. It is currently raising funds to cover the cost of experiments and encouraging students to grow ‘clean meat’ at home.

The amount of energy required for culturing meat could be significantly less than that of conventional livestock rearing. The commercialisation of cultured meat could be important for countries like Japan, China, Singapore and Israel, where most protein sources are imported.




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