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Future Foods Lab and Cellular Agriculture Initiative

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Category: research Video duration: Future Foods Lab and Cellular Agriculture Initiative

Cultivated meat is pushing the boundaries of food production at a time when the agriculture industry is racing to keep up with growing demand. As the world population approaches 10 billion by 2050, we need to find new ways to supplement our future food supply and maximize resource use to meet demand and feed people. Researchers from Future Foods Lab and Cellular Agriculture Initiative of Virginia Tech are helping to usher in the era of lab-to-table protein to help to fill that gap.


The Future Foods Lab and Cellular Agriculture Initiative of the Virginia Seafood AREC is a multi-disciplinary program designed to help meet these needs and bolster the future food supply. Program focuses include COVID and food supply chains, food safety engineering, alternative proteins, and cellular agriculture.


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The world population are reaching 10 billion by 2050. And in order to feed people, total food and meat production should be increased by 70 and 100 percent respectively. In order to meet this growing need, we need to find new ways to supplement our future food supply and maximize resource use. Cellular agriculture is another way to produce some of the products we are consuming. My program is future foods lab has cellular agriculture initiated with the Virginia seafood Agricultural research and Extension Center. We are focusing on Coby down food supply chain, food safety engineering, alternative proteins as cellular agriculture. Cellular agriculture is the production of animal source products such as meat from cell culture grown and a contained environment that would otherwise come from animals raised using traditional agricultural practices. There are several great positive benefits to growing cell-based meat, but one of the main advantages being sustainability. In the case of fish, up to 50 percent of the animal might be deemed as do edit, such as the bones or skin. So our goal is to only be growing the part of the animal that will actually be. We first collect cells using a safe techniques that do not kill the animal. We can then grow these cells, specialized media to obtain muscle and fat cells, the same types of cells and tissues that make up the fish fillet as you buy at the store. We then can grow them on edible plant-based scaffolding for use 3D bioprinting to achieve that delicious, flavorful meat texture and experience that you're used to getting from store bought fish. One significant challenge is the cost of cell growth media and media ingredients due to the bovine serum typically used in this field. Looping thrown free media posts reduces the cost of operation and ethically, it is desire to develop an effective replacement. In our lab, we are optimizing for media using machine learning and artificial intelligence cell line and a scaffold development, scaling up and training the future professionals, specifically under-represented groups are other challenges we are working to address. B are also developing a reciprocating media system to reuse this bin media to lower the cost of preparation. On top of the issues we mentioned, perception and willingness to pay, as well as developing the right flavor and texture are other challenges we are facing in this field. There are several private companies that are currently working on cultivate a b. However, it is a lot more difficult for private companies to actually share the research and insights they gained industry. So we're really excited here at Virginia Tech to performing research at a university where we're obligated to share our findings with the general scientific community. And we hope that our collaborative work will help push the field of cellular agriculture, afford to create safe, healthy, and cost effective alternative products.