The companies said the project aims to lower the costs of cultivating meat and further improve the sustainability of the cellular agriculture value chain.
The cultured meat production process sees a sample of cells taken from a cow, with those cells put into a bioreactor. Inside the tank, the cells are fed a growth medium – a nutrient rich soup that enables them to grow and divide or proliferate.
Cell culture media costs
REACT-EU is funding R&D efforts aimed specifically at addressing the ‘basal’ or base media in which the beef cells grow, the most expensive step in the process of cultivating beef.
By moving away from pharma-grade products and instead using feed- and food-grade byproducts from Nutreco’s supply chain, the partners believe they can reduce the costs of cell culture media substantially.
Indeed, Peter Verstrate, cofounder and COO of Mosa Meat, which is a pioneer company in terms of cultivated beef burgers, anticipates that cost reductions in the order of 100 times can be realized.
Commenting on the award, CEO of the Nutreco, Fulco van Lede, said: “The grant is an important step towards commercialization of cultivated meat. This project is perfectly aligned with our purpose of Feeding the Future. As we strive to feed a growing population in a safe and sustainable way, we will need to utilize a variety of new and emerging protein production methods alongside traditional farming.”
The partners, citing an independent Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) study, claim cultivated beef production is projected to reduce climate impact by 92%, air pollution by 93%, use 95% less land and 78% less water when compared to industrial beef production.
Nutreco has been collaborating with Mosa Meat since early 2020. The Dutch feed and animal nutrition group is also involved in a strategic partnership with cell-based seafood startup, Blue Nalu.