Meeting the Needs of the Cell-Based Meat Industry

October
,
2019

Commercialization of cell-based meat products at economically viable prices will require significant innovations, presenting new challenges and opportunities for industrial biotechnologists.

Cell-based meat (also referred to as clean or cultured meat) is genuine meat cultivated directly from animal stem cells rather than by raising and slaughtering animals (Figure 1). The meat is created through a bioprocess in which stem cells are extracted, isolated, and proliferated in bioreactors at high densities and/or in large volumes. These stem cells are subsequently differentiated, either in the presence or absence of scaffolding materials, into the principal cellular components of meat, including skeletal muscle, adipocytes, and fibroblasts of the connective tissues. The final product mirrors the structure, composition, and nutritional value of conventionally derived meat.

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Figure 1. This meatball is formed from cell-based meat that was grown in a bioreactor from bovine stem cells, eliminating the need for livestock and the associated ethical and environmental challenges. Photo courtesy of Memphis Meats.

Advances in regenerative medicine and bioprocess engineering have made the creation of palatable prototypes relatively straightforward. However, scaling up the process while lowering costs will require innovations in cell line development, cell-culture-medium optimization, bioreactor and bioprocess engineering, and scaffold biomaterials...

Author Bios: 

Elliot Swartz

Elliot Swartz is an Academic Research Advisor with The Good Food Institute (GFI), a nonprofit organization acting as a think tank for applying innovative strategies toward creating a sustainable and ethical food supply via plant-based and cell-based meat, egg, and dairy technologies. He holds a B.S. in Behavioral Neuroscience from Lehigh University and a Ph.D. in Neuroscience from UCLA. He has several years of experience in utilizing induced pluripotent stem cells for modeling neuromuscular disease as well as consulting start-ups in the biotech industry involved in drug discovery for...Read more

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