Scientists in South Korea have developed a cell-cultured meat prototype in what they claim is a first in the country, following both private and public investment. Researchers at Sejong University in Seoul unveiled the cell-cultured pork meat prototype after working on the project since 2018.
The Sejong University team, led by Professor Park Sungkwon of the university’s food science and biotechnology department, developed the cell-cultured meat by culturing muscle stem cells extracted from pig skeletal muscle to produce muscle tissue similar to conventional meat.
Supported by the South Korean Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy, the research has been carried out in partnership with Seoul National University and Space F, a cellular agriculture startup specializing in future-friendly food solutions. Along with the pork prototype, the team has also reported the completion of a cell-cultured beef which will be released in the coming months.
With a 43% increase of new cell-cultured meat companies launching in 2020, and upwards of $366 million raised by cell-cultured meat companies in the same year – a sixfold increase on 2019 – the cellular agriculture sector is taking off at a huge rate. In fact, a recent study strongly suggests that cell-cultured meat is likely to make up 40% of consumers’ future diets, and the Sejong University research team’s next step is to look at the commercialization of its developments.
“We can open up the possibility of securing the fundamental technology for cultured meat production,” Professor Park said in a statement. “We are aiming to advance this technology for commercialization through further research and optimization.”