Women from Graz are researching new ways for alternative meat products

Current crises and a growing population are causing the demand for meat to increase sharply worldwide. Traditional meat production, especially factory farming, consumes too many of the increasingly scarce resources, takes up too much land and emits the same amount of greenhouse gases as the entire transport sector. That is why Graz researchers from the Austrian Center of Industrial Biotechnology (acib) are working on a new, more environmentally friendly meat alternative.

Manufactured using biotechnological methods, it could be on supermarket shelves in the next few years. With 95% less space required, tenfold CO2 savings and the avoidance of animal suffering, this new, alternative type of meat has above all climate-relevant and ethical advantages compared to classic animal husbandry.

Researchers Aleksandra Fuchs and Viktorija Vidimce-Risteski are currently concentrating on the production of alternative meat products on the one hand and on the production of animal proteins on the other, such as the important iron carriers myoglobin and hemoglobin, which are also required for alternative meat products.

The process relies on the production of "real" meat from tiny, carefully obtained meat samples, which are propagated in a biological process without animal suffering.

The natural process simulates the growth of muscle cells, whereupon the signaling molecules, similar to sports, stimulate muscle cells to grow.

The technology does not require rearing or fattening, and there is no slaughter of animals, which is why alternative meats could also be an option for vegetarians to eat ethically.

The new products also have a number of advantages in terms of health. If you consider that more than 70% of all antibiotics produced are used in animal breeding, the production of alternative meat requires almost no antibiotics and takes place under controlled, organic conditions. However, there is still a long way to go before consumers can buy alternatively produced meat in the supermarket.

 Surveys confirm the technology's potential for the future: in 15 years, 20% of the meat consumed worldwide will come from environmentally friendly alternative production processes. For this, however, the production costs of alternative meat products must still fall - and this will be done on acib just hard at work.