Science

These Italian Researchers Are Developing Chicken Meat From a Feather

Researchers from an Italian university are studying how to obtain chicken meat from a feather. The project taking place via professors Luciano Conti and Stefano Maria Biressi at the University of Trento was assigned and financed by the Italian Save the Chickens Foundation, which contacts vegconomist with the news.

Researcher Nike Schiavo, MSc Biotechnology, is overseeing the experiments for the project and is currently completing the draft report, according to the foundation’s representative. She explains that cells are obtained from “feathers obtained through petting the chick” rather than from feathers that have fallen to the ground spontaneously.

“The cells that we manage to extract from the feathers grow well and so far we have managed to expand them for a few months, obtaining tens of millions of cells from a few cells,” says the foundation, which says that several tests have been carried out as part of the first phase of the project Cell from a Feather: Cell Line from Chicken Feathers.

Ian the chicken sitting with Eat Just team
©Eat Just

The spokesperson states that the results set in this first phase have been fully achieved, successfully identifying the type of feathers and the optimal conditions for obtaining and growing chicken cells, with the ultimate aim of having chicken cell lines suitable for cultured meat production processes. “We can then proceed with the other agreed project phases,” she says.

Ian the chicken

The Italian scientists are not the first to work on cell cultivation from chicken feathers. Eat Just’s GOOD Meat division, in its early days, released some explanatory materials including a YouTube video and a Medium article entitled Meet Ian & Learn About Cultured Meat back in 2017, describing a process whereby the team, having extracted cells from Ian’s feather, were apparently able to sit at a table and effectively eat Ian, while Ian ran around at their feet (see image above). Alex Crisp writes about this here in a guest post for vegconomist.

We commend the work of the University of Trento, and those who continue their work to remove suffering from the food chain.




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