Cell culture media formulas are a closely guarded secret in the nascent cell-cultured meat industry, says Bangalore-based Richcore Lifesciences. However, they typically contain water, amino acids (lysine, arginine etc), sugars (glucose), salts, vitamins, buffering agents, recombinant proteins (albumin, transferrin etc) and growth factors (FGF, IGF, TGF etc), which send signals to encourage cells to do certain things such as proliferate or differentiate. And catalog prices for the latter can run into thousands of dollars a gram, which is fine if you’re using them to culture cells in a laboratory, but presents challenges if you’re using them to produce tons of meat, said Richcore Lifesciences, which has 15 years’ experience in producing recombinant proteins from various microbial expression systems (such as bacteria and fungi) for the pharmaceutical industry, and is now turning its attention to food.
‘Cultured’ meat has attracted a considerable amount of investor and media interest as an early-stage technology. Despite uncertainties about its future impact, news media may be contributing to promissory discourses, by stressing the potential benefits from cultured meat to the environment, health, animal welfare, and feeding a growing population. The results from a content analysis of 255 articles from 12 US and UK traditional media from 2013 to 2019 show that much of the coverage is prompted by the industry sector, whose representatives are also the most quoted. Positive narratives about cultured meat are much more prominent than cautionary ones. Our findings support previous scholarship on other emerging technologies which concluded that with important variations, media treatments are largely positive.