It’s a familiar sight most of us have dealt with: a swarm of fruit flies circling around an old banana peel you forgot to discard or an overripe apple lingering in the fruit bowl.
While the pests are a nuisance in the home, in the lab they could help the cultivated meat industry lower sky-high production costs and meet surging demand. A Canadian company is using fruit flies as a growth medium to produce recombinant proteins, a key raw material in lab-grown meat. The system is designed to replace the current method of protein production, offering a way that’s cheaper, more sustainable, and easier to scale.
Many cultivated meat companies use recombinant proteins, which are growth factors that stimulate animal cells to thrive when outside of the actual animal’s body. These proteins aren’t edible parts of the final product; rather, their job is to signal to the animal cells to proliferate, allowing these companies to produce the high volumes of meat that they need.
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