10.1 C
Friday, June 2, 2023
HomeScienceDevelopment of a Plant-Derived Scaffold for Cultured Meat to Achieve Sustainability and...

Development of a Plant-Derived Scaffold for Cultured Meat to Achieve Sustainability and Reduced Cost.


Cultured hams were grown using edible cell culture scaffolds. Credit: National University of Singapore

A research team from the National University of Singapore (NUS) has successfully used common plant proteins to 3D print an edible cell culture scaffold, allowing for more affordable and sustainable laboratory meat.

As consumers become more aware of the environmental and ethical ramifications of their foods, lab-grown meat, also known as cultured or cell-based meat, is becoming a popular source of dietary protein. Cultured meat is produced by taking skeletal muscle cells from animals and growing them on three-dimensional structures called scaffolds, which provide structural support as the cells multiply and develop into tissues.

However, cell culture scaffolds are usually made of synthetic or animal materials, which are either expensive or inedible. In search of an alternative, the team led by Professor Huang Dejian, Vice Chair of Food Science and Technology at UNSW, turned to plant proteins, which are known to be biodegradable and biocompatible with animal cells. Crucially, plant proteins also meet common requirements for food consumption, making the resulting scaffold suitable for meat culture.

“Using readily available grain prolamin as biomaterials for high-resolution 3D printing technology, we open up a new method for fabricating edible and structured scaffolds for the production of cultured muscle meat slices with fibrous qualities,” said Professor Huang.

The team’s work, in line with NUS’s orientation to produce cutting-edge sustainability research, is published in the journal Advanced materials.

Making an edible scaffold

Prolamins are a family of plant storage proteins that have a low nutritional value due to their special amino acid profile. In fact, prolamins are produced as waste in the starch and vegetable oil industries. However, Professor Huang and his team took advantage of these properties of prolamin to come up with a sustainable and affordable resource for meat culture.

Specifically, the researchers used a blend of prolamin derived from corn, barley and rye flour, also known as zine, hordine and sekaline, respectively. These mixtures then served as an ink for electrohydrodynamic printing, a high-resolution 3D printing technique commonly used in biomedical applications.

To assess whether prolamin formulations were suitable for meat culture, they were immersed in cell culture medium and examined seven days later to check for any structural changes. Under a scanning electron microscope, the scaffolds retained their structure and did not collapse, although many holes appeared on their surfaces. However, according to the researchers, these pores are most likely the result of enzymes secreted by cultured cells rather than evidence of structural weaknesses.

For scaffolds to be useful for growing meat, they need to be biocompatible with muscle cells from agricultural animals, which means they need to be able to accommodate these cells and support their growth and development.

To test this, Professor Huang and his team transplanted prolamin formulations with stem cells from the skeletal muscles of pigs and measured the cell proliferation over the following days. They found that the cells divided extensively on the scaffolds, reaching their maximum number 11 days after they were inoculated. Stem cells grew relatively well on both Zine/Hordenine and Zine/Sicalin scaffolds.

Significantly, when compared with a standard polycaprolactone scaffold, a common tool in tissue engineering, porcine cells grown on prolamin formulations proliferated much faster, demonstrating that the plant protein-based scaffold was more feasible for cultured meat production than standard synthetic polymers. .

“Scaffolds made of plant proteins are edible and have diverse, variable peptide sequences that can facilitate cell attachment, stimulate differentiation, and accelerate meat growth. By contrast, synthetic scaffolds such as plastic granules used in cultured meat have no functional group, making it difficult for animal cells to survive.” adhesion and reproduction.In addition, the synthetic scaffolds are not edible and additional steps are required to separate the scaffolds from the meat farm.”

As a proof of concept, the research team attempted to produce an actual slice of meat by growing pig skin stem cells on a zine/secalin scaffold, then allowing them to differentiate, or mature, into muscle. Beet extract was used to simulate the color of reddish meat.

Their experiment turned out to be successful. Within 12 days, the research team was able to culture meat that was similar in texture and general appearance to real animal meat.

“Since the scaffold was edible, no special or additional procedures were required to extract it from the final product,” shares Professor Huang. These findings further validate the potential of the proposed prolamin-based scaffolds for cultured meat production.”

Further developments

Professor Huang and his team are actively working on purifying plant protein-based technology. For example, more studies are needed to determine how the specific structure and composition of prolamin formulations affect the growth of animal stem cells and how they form muscle tissue.

Furthermore, we need to ensure that the resulting meat products are market-ready, with safety profiles that meet stringent regulatory requirements and nutritional formulations that will meet recommended nutritional needs, says Professor Huang. “Of course, it has to be appetizing, too. Flavor, aroma, and texture have to be carefully tuned to compete with conventionally farmed meat products.”

more information:
Lingshan Su et al, 3D-printed prolamin scaffolds for cell-based meat cultivation, Advanced materials (2022). DOI: 10.1002/adma.202207397

Provided by the National University of Singapore

the quote: Scientists Develop Plant Cell Culture Scaffold for Cheaper, More Sustainable Cultured Meat (2023, May 2) Retrieved May 2, 2023 from https://phys.org/news/2023-05-scientists-plant-based-cell-culture -scaffold. html

This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without written permission. The content is provided for informational purposes only.

The author of what'snew2day.com is dedicated to keeping you up-to-date on the latest news and information.

Latest stories