In another advance in cultivated meat New Zealand based Opo Bio‘s “first bovine cell lines can grow without serum in suspension bioreactors.” Serum free cell lines are a real breakthrough, since growth factors are the single greatest cost in growing cultivated meat. It also demonstrates the futility of conducting analyses of the long term commercial viability of cultivated meat. Given the rapid changes in cultivated meat technologies any analysis is of necessity only at a particular point in time. Most likely by the time the analysis is completed it’s already outdated! This is not to say that there’s any guarantee that cultivated meat will be cost competitive or not, just that it’s definitely not a 100 % bet either way.
Companies like Opo Bio demonstrate the continuing breakup of the cultivated meat supply chain into specialist sectors. We now have many sectors including cell lines, media, growth factors, bioreactors etc. This specialisation could allow more focused approaches and accelerate the specific sectors. It’ll also lead to a far more “plug and play” approach to manufacturing cultivated meat in the future.
Will cultivated meat become cost competitive with animal meat, and if so when? That’s something that only time will reveal, but the probability increases with each new development.