Celebrity-Backed NotCo Brings Its AI-Developed Vegan Chicken to Burger King

By Jill Ettinger 

Chile’s NotCo expands its presence in its backyard with new vegan chicken options in Burger King Chile.

It’s been a busy year since NotCo, the Chilean food-tech startup known for its AI technology dubbed Giusseppe, raised $235 million in a Series D funding round that included backing from tennis star Roger Federer, F1 Driver Lewis Hamilton, and Oscar-winning musician and filmmaker, Questlove.

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New Artificial Photosynthesis Method Grows Food With No Sunshine

By Vanessa Bates Ramirez 

How can we grow more food using fewer resources? Scientists have been focused on this question for decades if not centuries, as an ever-growing global population necessitates constantly seeking new ways to produce food in sustainable and affordable ways.

Here’s a question most of us have never contemplated, because it seems so unfathomable: what if crops could grow without sunlight—not vertical farm-style, where LED light replaces the sun, but in total darkness?

A paper published last week in Nature Food details a method for doing just that.

Photosynthesis uses a series of chemical reactions to convert carbon dioxide, water, and sunlight into glucose and oxygen. The light-dependent stage comes first, and relies on sunlight to transfer energy to plants, which convert it to chemical energy. The light-independent stage (also called the Calvin Cycle) follows, when this chemical energy and carbon dioxide are used to form carbohydrate molecules (like glucose).

A research team from UC Riverside and the University of Delaware found a way to leapfrog over the light-dependent stage entirely, providing plants with the chemical energy they need to complete the Calvin Cycle in total darkness. They used an electrolysis to convert carbon dioxide and water into acetate, a salt or ester form of acetic acid and a common building block for biosynthesis (it’s also the main component of vinegar). The team fed the acetate to plants in the dark, finding they were able to use it as they would have used the chemical energy they’d get from sunlight.

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Artificial photosynthesis can produce food without sunshine

Plants are growing in complete darkness in an acetate medium that replaces biological photosynthesis.

by Holly Ober,  University of California – Riverside

Photosynthesis has evolved in plants for millions of years to turn water, carbon dioxide, and the energy from sunlight into plant biomass and the foods we eat. This process, however, is very inefficient, with only about 1% of the energy found in sunlight ending up in the plant. Scientists at UC Riverside and the University of Delaware have found a way to bypass the need for biological photosynthesis altogether and create food independent of sunlight by using artificial photosynthesis.

The research, published in Nature Food, uses a two-step electrocatalytic process to convert carbon dioxide, electricity, and water into acetate, the form of the main component of vinegar. Food-producing organisms then consume acetate in the dark to grow. Combined with solar panels to generate the electricity to power the electrocatalysis, this hybrid organic-inorganic system could increase the conversion efficiency of sunlight into food, up to 18 times more efficient for some foods.

“With our approach we sought to identify a new way of producing food that could break through the limits normally imposed by biological photosynthesis,” said corresponding author Robert Jinkerson, a UC Riverside assistant professor of chemical and environmental engineering.

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Lion Burger, Tiger Steak From Lab-Grown Meat Hit the Market

Tiger steak for dinner?

By Tasos Kokkinidis

A British company called Primeval Foods is pitching lab-grown meat, such as lion burgers, tiger steaks, and zebra sushi rolls to climate-conscious consumers.

The company says it wants consumers of plant-based meat alternatives to switch to lab-grown meats in a bid to preserve the planet.

Lab-grown meat is produced by cultivating animal cells directly to produce food from any species without slaughtering animals. It also allows producers to replicate the sensory and nutritional profiles of conventional meat.

Although most companies focus on the most common meat categories in demand, such as chicken, beef and pork, Primeval Foods may be the first of its kind to entice consumers with exotic “cultured” meat products.

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California’s New Lab-Grown Meat Facility Is the Most Advanced in the World

And it will be open to visitors.

If you weren’t aware of it, the amount of meat that humans consume globally has rapidly risen over the decades and meat production is now at an all-time high. According to the Worldwatch Institute, meat production has tripled over the last forty years, increasing by 20 percent in just the last decade. And more meat production leads to more carbon emissions that feed climate change.

Since the issue has become a major problem, companies around the world have been working on green alternatives to meat products. Perhaps you might remember our previous coverage of Impossible Foods’ Impossible Burgers and how they’re nearly identical to regular patties and Redefine Meat’s 3D-printed steaks. 

One such company is Upside Foods, a cultured meat company that is headquartered in Berkley, California, and it claims that its vast 53,000-sq ft (16,154-m²) facility is the world’s most advanced lab-grown meat facility, so far.

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The Cow That Could Feed the Planet

Limousin cows in Farmer John’s pasture. Mosa Meat will cultivate their cells in a lab to grow into hamburger that is genetically identical, no slaughter required 

BY ARYN BAKER

The cows in Farmer John’s pasture lead an idyllic life. They roam through tree-shaded meadows, tearing up mouthfuls of clover while nursing their calves in tranquility. Tawny brown, compact and muscular, they are Limousins, a breed known for the quality of its meat and much sought-after by the high-end restaurants and butchers in the nearby food mecca of Maastricht, in the southernmost province of the Netherlands. In a year or two, meat from these dozen cows could end up on the plates of Maastricht’s better-known restaurants, but the cows themselves are not headed for the slaughterhouse. Instead, every few months, a veterinarian equipped with little more than a topical anesthetic and a scalpel will remove a peppercorn-size sample of muscle from their flanks, stitch up the tiny incision and send the cows back to their pasture.

The biopsies, meanwhile, will be dropped off at a lab in a nondescript warehouse in Maastricht’s industrial quarter, five miles away, where, when I visit in July, cellular biologist Johanna Melke is already working on samples sent in a few days prior. She swirls a flask full of a clear liquid flecked with white filaments—stem cells isolated from the biopsy and fed on a nutrient-dense growth medium. In a few days, the filaments will thicken into tubes that look something like short strands of spaghetti. “This is fat,” says Melke proudly. “Fat is really important. Without fat, meat doesn’t taste as good.”

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World’s Most Advanced Lab-Grown Meat Facility Opens In California

By Katie Spalding

As people become more aware of the devastating environmental cost of animal agriculture, there’s been a veritable explosion in the number of plant-based alternatives hitting the shelves, with some promising vegan “meat” that’s virtually indistinguishable from the real thing. One company named Upside Foods is ready and waiting to serve up an even more authentic experience: real meat, but with none of the agriculture.

On Thursday, November 4, the company opened a vast facility in Emeryville, California – 16,154 square meters (53,000 square feet) of renewably-powered vats and tubes going by the name of the Engineering, Production, and Innovation Center, or “EPIC”. It’s been billed as the first of its kind, and the company says it’s ready to start producing 22,680 kilograms (50,000 pounds) of cultured meat for commercial scale – just as soon as it’s legal in the US.

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THE USDA JUST MADE ITS FIRST INVESTMENT IN LAB-GROWN MEAT

In its first investment into the lab-grown meat space, the USDA awarded $10 million to Tufts University to establish the National Institute for Cellular Agriculture.

by ANNA STAROSTINETSKAYA

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) just made its first investment in the lab-grown meat industry. The government agency will award $10 million over the course of five years to Tufts University to establish the National Institute for Cellular Agriculture, a flagship American cultivated protein research center. The project aims to create a more resilient food system by developing “outreach, extension, and education for the next generation of professionals” in the field of cellular agriculture—which revolves around the use of a small amount of animal cells to create real meat and other animal proteins, replacing the environmentally damaging practice of raising and slaughtering animals for food. 

“USDA’s historic funding for a National Institute for Cellular Agriculture is an important advancement for cultivated meat research and science,” Appropriations Committee Chair Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) said in a statement. “I am pleased that USDA’s leadership continues to recognize the important role these technologies can play in combating climate change and adding much needed resiliency to our food system.”

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Relocalize Raises $1.4M to Feed Humanity Sustainably with Micro-Factories

Relocalize, a North American food-tech company, today announced the closing of a $1.4M pre-seed round to fund the development of the first ever automated food micro-factory. 

The round is led by grocery retail and industry leaders including senior executives from Slack, Emerson, ex-Sobeys and an undisclosed USA-based retail chain.

“Our food system is the single largest source of greenhouse gas emissions,” says Relocalize CEO Wayne McIntyre. “At Relocalize, we drastically reduce the carbon footprint of production by eliminating long-haul transportation. We’re making food where people live, unlike conventional centralized producers.” 

The company plans to deploy thousands of micro-factories at grocery distribution centres across North America. Their first micro-factory, which will produce packaged ice, will be deployed in November 2021. 

“Consumers increasingly factor sustainability into their buying decisions and retailers have taken note,” says Marc Poulin former Sobeys CEO. “Our industry needs innovative suppliers like Relocalize to achieve our sustainability objectives. Their technology reduces both cost and CO2, which is transformative.”

Since the company’s founding in November 2020, Relocalize in-licensed, designed, patented, prototyped and tested its technology, as well as secured a leading Southern-US retail launch partner for their first sustainable premium ice micro-factory.

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Raising the steaks: Nestlé plans to sell lab-grown meat

Nestlé is exploring technologies that could lead to animal-friendly alternatives that are close to meat in terms of taste, flavour, and texture.

By Agnieszka de Sousa

  • Nestlé has been working on alternative meat products that will blend cultivated meat with plant-based ingredients.
  • The company has also been expanding its range of milk alternatives, most recently adding a pea-based drink in Europe.
  • To complement efforts in plant-based alternatives, the company is exploring technologies that could lead to animal-friendly alternatives that are close to meat in terms of taste, flavour, and texture.

Nestlé is planning to enter the cultured-meat market in a move that could see the world’s largest food company help deliver the nascent technology faster to the mass market.

The Swiss giant has been working on alternative meat products that will blend cultivated meat with plant-based ingredients, according to people familiar with the deliberations, who asked not to be named because the information hasn’t been made public. The meat is being developed with Israeli cell-based startup Future Meat Technologies, the people said.

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5,000 burgers a day: World’s first cultured meat-production plant opens in Israel

Rehovot-based Future Meat‘s plant makes cell-based, slaughter-free meat production a reality.

BY NOGA MARTIN

 The world’s first industrial cultured meat facility has opened in the city of Rehovot, home to the Weizmann Institute of Science and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem Faculty of Agriculture, Israeli slaughter-free meat-production startup Future Meat Technologies announced on Wednesday.

With the capability to produce 500 kilograms (1,102 pounds) of cultured products a day, equivalent to 5,000 hamburgers, this facility makes scalable cell-based meat production a reality.

“This facility opening marks a huge step in Future Meat Technologies’ path to market, serving as a critical enabler to bring our products to shelves by 2022,” said Rom Kshuk, CEO of Future Meat Technologies. “Having a running industrial line accelerates key processes such as regulation and product development.”

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World First As Human ‘Breast Milk’ Is Created In A Lab

By Rachel Moss

Parents could soon have another option when feeding their babies, because the world’s first human ‘breast milk’ has been formulated in a lab.

A female-led start-up, Biomilq, has successfully created milk from human mammary cells (female breast cells). The company says their milk is the closest ever match to the “macronutrient profile” of the real deal, with the same types of proteins, carbohydrates, fatty acids and bioactive lipids.

The product does lack the antibodies in breast milk straight from the mother, but the company’s co-founder and chief science officer, Dr Leila Strickland, told Forbes: “Even without antibodies, the nutritional and bioactive composition of our product will be much closer to that of breast milk than to bovine-based infant formula… our product will support immune development, microbiome population, intestinal maturation, and brain development in ways that bovine-based infant formula fundamentally cannot.”

They’ve called their product the “world’s first cell-cultured human milk outside of the breast” and say it will be available to buy within the next three years. 

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