Words for "in-vitro/fake/cultivated/lab meat" used in Russian

by jasonk 12d6th Oct 2019No comments

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(I am not a native speaker, nor am I fluent, nor do I live in Russia, but I found this interesting. If you know better, please correct me.)

A Russian lab that's part of a large food manufacturer in Russia (Очаковский комбинат пищевых ингредиентов) recently announced they'd created a small piece of cultivated beef. This was cool news because those of us following the news haven't seen news of any cultivated meat developments in Russia since 2017.

What especially interested me is that an article in Interfax.ru (similar to the Associated Press in the US) used several different terms to refer to the meat.

  • мясо из пробирки ("meat from test tubes" or "test tube meat"). This is the most commonly used term, and the one that people seem to know. See the relevant entry on Wikipedia.ru.
  • искусственное мясо ("artificial meat" or "fake meat"). I'm not sure how popular this is but the Wikipedia.ru article mentioned above includes it as an alternate name. The edit history of that article says the first version was a translation from the English version, and the English language version of the page from early August 2010 only mentions "in vitro meat" and "cultured meat", so I'm not sure where искусственное мясо ("artificial meat") came from.
  • культивируемое мясо ("cultivated meat"). Also appears in the Wikipedia entry, starting from the 2010 entry. I hadn't seen this actually used anywhere until this Interfax.ru article, where it's used in a quote from the principal scientist Nikolai Shimanovsky, and searches on Yandex and Google don't show older usages (though I might be missing them). What's crazy is that культивируемое мясо ("cultivated meat") appears to be the original Wikipedia.ru page author's term (again from 2010) for "cultured meat", possibly because there's no good translation for the word "cultured". How fascinating that this person in 2010 hit upon a Russian version term just recently adopted by proponents in the US!
  • лабораторное мясо ("laboratory meat"). I'd never seen or heard this before. It's also used by the principal scientist Nikolai Shimanovsky.

As far as I know, most Russian activists use the term "мясо из пробирки" ("test tube meat") yet. It will be interesting if a coordinated effort starts around using one of the other terms or a different one entirely.



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