Like many other foods in the world, the price of coffee is rising rapidly. Scientists are looking for a solution to a possible coffee shortage in the laboratory.
There is a 43% increase in coffee prices for this year alone. In addition to the transportation and supply chain problems due to the pandemic, the adverse weather conditions affecting Brazil and the disruption of exports from Colombia due to protests negatively affected coffee prices.
Traditional coffee production includes many problems in terms of environment and human rights. Increasing demand in the world and climate change exacerbate these problems. So, can coffee be produced in the laboratory with less resource need, without the need for land use?
Sustainability in agriculture is under the threat of Covid-19!
The VTT Technical Research Center in Finland is trying to provide a solution in this direction. Scientists are investigating the method of cell farming to produce products that are less dependent on unsustainable activities. In this method, the cells of the part of the plant that are consumed as food are grown and harvested in a laboratory environment.
The taste of lab coffee is on point
Scientists from VTT stated that the first results are promising, that caffeine is formed in the cells, and that the taste and odor profile of the coffee obtained by roasting and brewing the cells is similar to traditional coffee. According to the research, the character of the coffee can also be changed by adjusting the cell culture and roasting conditions in different ways.
Coffee production in the laboratory begins with the acquisition of the required cell type and continues with the transfer of these to bioreactors containing nutrients in order to produce biomass. The resulting biomass is roasted, brewed and then subjected to analytical and sensory tests.
Coffee is good for health… Provided that you consume it in moderation
VTT has been working on cell farming for decades. According to an article published by the center in the journal Food Research International in 2018, forest fruits produced by this method are both delicious and rich in nutrients. In fact, scientists say that fruit produced in the laboratory is superior to fresh fruit in terms of nutrients.
Food itself can also be produced in the laboratory
Scientists state that the cell culture studies carried out so far have mostly focused on the goal of obtaining a component in the plant, while their studies are directly aimed at food production.
However, for the product produced in this way to reach the market shelves, it must receive official approval, which requires a significant investment. In addition, it is stated that it is necessary to make the production economically less costly in order for the product to compete with traditional products.