Insight & Analysis

The woolly mammoth meatball – a revolution for meat products

Published: Apr 2023

An Australian company is determined to revolutionise the way we eat meat, starting with the creation of the Woolley Mammoth meatball.

The Australian company, Vow, has unveiled a new meat product sourced from the Woolley Mammoth.

The meatball was made in partnership with Professor Ernst Wolvetang, at the Australian Institute for Bioengineering at the University of Queensland. Professor Wolvetang’s team replicated the 20 billion cells needed for this meat, by taking the DNA sequence for mammoth myoglobin, a key muscle protein which gives meat its flavour, and filling in the gaps with elephant DNA.

This meatball is the latest creation in a range of cultivated meat products, with the first cultivated meat, Japanese quail, expected to be sold to diners in Singapore later this year.

However, the mammoth meatball is not intended for human consumption over fears of “how our immune system would react.” Instead, it is a promotion of the wide potential for cultivated meat products and how they help the climate. “We chose the Woolly Mammoth because it’s a symbol of diversity loss and a symbol of climate change,” says Vow co-founder, Tim Noakesmith.

Furthermore, Vow CEO, George Peppou, spoke about how this creation promotes their company mission to “transition a few billion meat eaters away from eating (conventional) animal protein,” hence decreasing the current large-scale production of meat that causes vast environmental damage.

The mammoth meatball will be displayed at Nemo, a science museum in the Netherlands.

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