Send to

Choose Destination
Environ Sci Technol. 2015 Oct 6;49(19):11941-9. doi: 10.1021/acs.est.5b01614. Epub 2015 Sep 18.

Anticipatory Life Cycle Analysis of In Vitro Biomass Cultivation for Cultured Meat Production in the United States.

Author information

School of Public Health, University of Texas , 1200 Hermann Pressler Drive, Houston, Texas 77030, United States.
Glenn Department of Civil Engineering, Clemson University , Clemson, South Carolina 29634, United States.
School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment and ASU Lincoln Center for Applied Ethics, Arizona State University , Tempe, Arizona 85287, United States.
Department of Medicine, University of Minnesota , Minneapolis, Minnesota 55455, United States.


Cultured, or in vitro, meat consists of edible biomass grown from animal stem cells in a factory, or carnery. In the coming decades, in vitro biomass cultivation could enable the production of meat without the need to raise livestock. Using an anticipatory life cycle analysis framework, the study described herein examines the environmental implications of this emerging technology and compares the results with published impacts of beef, pork, poultry, and another speculative analysis of cultured biomass. While uncertainty ranges are large, the findings suggest that in vitro biomass cultivation could require smaller quantities of agricultural inputs and land than livestock; however, those benefits could come at the expense of more intensive energy use as biological functions such as digestion and nutrient circulation are replaced by industrial equivalents. From this perspective, large-scale cultivation of in vitro meat and other bioengineered products could represent a new phase of industrialization with inherently complex and challenging trade-offs.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for American Chemical Society
Loading ...
Support Center