You are here

Creating the UK's First Commercially Available Lab-grown Meat

Monday 17th May 2021

Linacre Governing Body Fellow and Associate Professor of Engineering Science, Dr Cathy Ye is the co-founder of Ivy Technologies, a company aiming to produce the first commercially available lab-grown meat in the UK.

A lot goes into creating a ‘lab-grown’ or ‘cultured’ sausage. First, a small number of cells are taken from a living pig, which are then placed in a unique ‘scaffold’ system inside a bioreactor. These cells are then exposed to an environment containing an optimised mix of vitamins and nutrients. This specific environment allows the cells to start replicating and producing meat. The cells can be harvested without disturbing the cells which are growing underneath. In three to four weeks, the cells can start to produce meat.

One of the great advantages of lab-grown meat over regular meat is its significantly lower carbon footprint. For example,: one lab-grown sausage produces 0.4 Kg of CO2 compared to 1.5 Kg of CO2 for a regular sausage – a decrease of more than 70%. By 2050, the world population is expected to grow to almost 10 billion and demand for meat is predicted to increase by 70%. The combined greenhouse gas emissions for the meat and dairy industry is estimated to account for almost 20% of total greenhouse gas emissions which is a greater percentage than all transportation combined. Therefore, this increased demand for meat can, and will, place an immense burden on our environment. Dr Ye’s contribution to the advancement of lab-grown meat could be a significant asset to the continued fight against climate change.

The first lab-grown sausages produced by Ivy Farm Technologies are expected to be available to restaurants and supermarkets by 2023, followed by meatballs and beef burgers.

Dr Ye co-founded Ivy Farm Technologies with Dr Russ Tucker (Wadham) in 2019 after they met at Oxford’s Department of Engineering Science.

Find out more about Dr Ye and Ivy Farm Technologies at https://www.ivy.farm/

Sausages