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By 2020, India might serve up green meat. Are you game?

PW Bureau 

Green meat or cultured meat is meat produced by in vitro cultivation of animal cells, instead of from slaughtered animal  New Delhi: By 2020, India is gearing up to serve cell-based or ‘clean’ meat as the Maharashtra government has given its approval to the state-funded Institute of Chemical Technology (ICT) to set up a research centre for cellular agriculture in the state. To set up a lab facility in Mumbai by next year, ICT has tied up with a global non-profit organisation, Good Food Institute, to encourage the plant-and-cell-based meat sector through research and commercialisation. Both organisations are likely to sign an MoU to establish a Centre of Excellence in Cellular Agriculture to allow the Mumbai laboratory to be established in the first phase, after which they will look to establish a larger research facility at ICT’s Jalna campus by 2021.

‘World’s first centre on cellular agriculture’

“This will be the world’s first dedicated centre on cellular agriculture. This centre will pioneer innovation, allowing Indian businesses a chance to create products using our research,” said Dr Rekha Singhal, dean, research, consultancy and resource mobilis. For the centre, the entities will jointly focus on raising funds from charitable foundations, philanthropist and government institutions. “It will include state-of-the-art facilities for cell culturing and endow research fellowships in the various technology areas of cellular agriculture, including cell culture media, cell line isolation, scaffolding, and bioreactor design,” said Varun Deshpande, MD, India, The Good Food Institute.

Cellular agriculture

Instead of breeding and slaughtering animals, cellular agriculture comprises the use of biotechnology to generate animal-based products in a controlled environment. The cell-based meat is produced by cultivating a small sample of animal cells in a laboratory. “The resulting product is 100 percent real meat, minus the antibiotics, E coli, salmonella or animal waste,” Deshpande said.

But what is green meat?

Green meat or cultured meat is meat produced by in vitro cultivation of animal cells, instead of from slaughtered animals. It is a form of cellular agriculture. Cultured meat is produced using many of the same tissue engineering techniques traditionally used in regenerative medicine. The concept of cultured meat was popularised by Jason Matheny in the early 2000s after co-authoring a seminal paper on cultured meat production and creating New Harvest, the world’s first non-profit organisation dedicated to supporting in vitro meat research.