Chief Scientific Officer Jacqui Matthews delivered a strong statement of support to those exploring the potential of cellular agriculture as a way of overcoming global food shortages in years to come, in an invited presentation at the Industrial Biotechnology Innovation Centre conference last week.
Noting that the global human population is predicted to rise to 9 billion by 2050, creating massive pressure on global protein production, she observed that under this scenario meat output would need to double, while dairy and fish production would almost need to triple within this timescale. Unfortunately, those increased requirements for production have a potentially huge detrimental environmental impact and cause significant food security concerns.
Roslin Tech is addressing this important issue in three distinct ways, she pointed out. Firstly, the company is helping increase agricultural efficiency by delivering state-of-the-art breeding programmes. Second, they are supporting the food chain by tackling infectious diseases through developing tools to improve animal health and hence biological efficiency. Third, Roslin Tech is developing exciting alternative protein solutions, including selective breeding programmes for black soldier fly (a novel alternative protein source for animal feedstuffs), and animal stem cell lines for cultivated meat producers.
Cultivated meat, in particular, is very much part of the solution for future food security and sustainability. With lower land use requirements, that reduces the prospect of habitat destruction. There is also a considerable lowering in the amount of water required for cellular agriculture, while there are also significant benefits in reductions in greenhouse gas emissions compared to livestock production.
Roslin Tech is at the forefront of helping those involved in cellular agriculture, particularly those working to deliver cultivated meat products to end clients. Its solutions are particularly favoured by manufacturers in this area because the company's unique induced pluripotent stem cell lines remove the requirement for the repeated use of live animals to derive starter cultures, which maintains product quality. These cells have also been demonstrated to be capable of differentiation into many cell types, including the muscle and fat cells required for cultivated meat production.