A Bay Area-based startup called Memphis Meats has figured out how to make a real meatball in the lab using beef cells, no livestock required.
The lab-grown meat process goes something like this, according to CEO Uma Valeti. Find ultra-high quality cows and pigs. Take meat cells from a pork shoulder or other cut of meat. Find the cells capable of self-renewal and cultivate them in a sterile environment. The cells are harvested early for tender cuts of meat, and harvested later for textured cuts.
No one making lab-grown meat, including Memphis Meats, has gotten around the fact that they need to use fetal bovine serum, which comes from unborn calves, to start the cell culture process. That means lab-grown meat, as of now, still requires the use of real animals. But Valeti told the Wall Street Journal that he’ll be able to replace the serum with “something plant-based” in the near future.
(A paid spokesperson, obviously)
“Mama mia! That’s a spicy ball of fetal bovine serum!”