A Czech start-up, Bene Meat Technologies, (BMT) based in Prague, is the first and only project in the Czech Republic and Eastern Europe which is developing technology for the production of cultivated meat*. The ambitious team has already reached several important milestones to compete with global players.
BMT is a new and serious player on the international scene in the biotechnology search for cultivated meat. Its aim is to develop technology to produce cultivated meat on a mass scale, and for a reasonable price.
The Czech BMT team has already succeeded in the first crucial steps – cultivation of the necessary cells in a defined medium (without FBS**) and developing cell lines that the muscle tissue will consist of.
Now, the BMT team is proving the technical specifications of micro bioreactors that can later be upscaled to produce cultivated meat on a larger scale. BMT is cooperating on this project with the Swiss company, Bioengineering, and the Prague Institute of Chemical Engineering.
The first prototypes of low-capacity bioreactors to test the concept for the proliferation of the cells and recycling the media are planned to be ready in a couple of weeks. If everything goes well, the prototypes of large-scale bioreactors for proliferation of the cells with recycling of media should be tested at the end of 2021.
Katrin Neubauerova, BMT team member responsible for bioreactor development, says: “Large-scale bioreactors for the differentiation of cells and 3D structure forming will be the next crucial step. Just cheap nutrition is not enough for consumers. The taste and structure also have to be identical to regular meat.”
Another team of BMT researchers is focused on developing a cheap alternative medium*** that can replace the standard media used in tissue laboratories. “We need a medium with more nutrients for the cells, in order to have a competitive price for the product,” says Hana Raschmanova, another BMT team member responsible for that research direction.
BMT does not make compromises in the research, such as mixing cells with plant proteins. It intends to entirely replace the “livestock”, at all levels.
The whole project is led by Roman Kriz, who explains BMT’s aim for cultivated meat: “We are developing the technology for a fully-fledged meat alternative, that is healthier, controlled, and verifiable. Why replace meat if we could just replace the animals that are dying to provide us with meat?”, he asks.
The scientific team is managed by Jiri Janousek, a young biologist. The team itself consists of young international researchers, all of whom are highly motivated to achieve new solutions, and with the team functioning linearly. “We count on the internal motivation of each and every individual in the team. They all know that they are part of something that we can be best in the world at,” explains Mr. Janousek.
Cultivated meat is the answer to the global demand for meat, which brings ethical, ecological, and health consequences, due to its mass production. Plant alternatives are not the answer – not only do they not provide necessary animal proteins, but the required soil for mass plant production also brings ecological and financial problems.
Bene Meat Technologies
Bene Meat Technologies (BMT) is a Czech start-up company, based in Prague. It focuses on the research of technology for cultivated meat production on a mass scale. The aim is to produce technology to produce cultivated meat through the multiplication of animal cells (without using fetal bovine serum) and offer the product for a reasonable price.
*Cultivated meat = meat produced by the cultivation of animal cells (including muscle cells, fat cells, bonding tissues, blood, etc.) not by killing the animal.
**Fetal bovine serum = serum made from animal embryos.
*** Medium = water-based solution with nutrients.
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