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expert reaction to study looking at integrating rice grains with beef cells

A study published in Matter looks at growing beef cells in rice grains. 


Prof Neil Ward, an agri-food and climate specialist, Professor of Rural and Regional Development, and Co-Convenor of UKRI’s AgriFood4NetZero Network, UEA, said:

“There has been a surge of interest over the past five years in developing alternatives to conventional meat with lower environmental impacts.  This research suggests the possibility of a hybrid rice which provides animal nutrients that involves almost eight times less greenhouse gas emissions and at less than one sixth of the cost.  This line of research holds promise for the development of healthier and more climate-friendly diets in future.

“While data on cost and climate impact look very positive, a critical test is around public appetite for these sorts of lab-developed foods.  With lab-based alternative meats in general, the greatest potential is probably in replacing processed meats rather than prime cuts.


Does the press release accurately reflect the science?

“The press release does accurately reflect the paper.


Is this good quality research?  Are the conclusions backed up by solid data?

“The conclusions are backed up by solid data contained in the paper.


What are the implications in the real world?  Is there any overspeculation?

“It looks like a promising start of a scientific agenda rather than a major breakthrough with immediate practical consequences.”



‘Rice grains integrated with animal cells: A shortcut to a sustainable food system’ by Sohyeon Park et al. was published in Matter at 16:00 UK time on Wednesday 14 February 2024.


DOI: 10.1016/j.matt.2024.01.015



Declared interests

Prof Neil Ward: “No conflicts to declare.”

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