Using macromolecular crowding to increase cellular meat production and feed a low-emission bioeconomy

Lead Participant: 3d Bio-Tissues Limited

Abstract

3D Bio-Tissues Ltd (3DBT) is a Newcastle University spin-out company that is translating recent developments in cell biology and tissue engineering into medical and food-related products. The company has developed a process that produces highly organised collagenous tissue. The similarity in structure between these engineered tissues and their natural counterparts is remarkable and allows for significantly improved function of the resulting tissue. For example 3DBT is currently creating organised collagenous tissues for skin and corneal replacements, but has recently shown that this process is also relevant to cellular meat. A challenge remains in driving down the costs of producing these tissues, especially if intended as food alternatives (cellular meat will necessarily have to be affordable for mass consumers), while eliminating at the same time the use of animal-derived ingredients from the process. Thus, this project explores the development of simple, inexpensive, and readily-available media supplements to feed cells in culture and enable the production of tissues recreating the texture and composition of meat whilst meeting central market demands i.e. low price and absence of serum.

Several research groups and companies in Europe, the US, and elsewhere are developing serum-free media alternatives for enhanced production of cellular meat. However, most of these strategies focus on finding natural and synthetic substitutes for the relevant serum factors. We propose to take a different approach that focuses on the use of novel supplements derived from existing agro-industrial by-products. Use of these in the culture medium will represent a new animal/xenobiotic-free method to increase the efficiency of cellular meat production, a strategy that aims to reduce (or even eliminate) the need for serum supplementation - making the product truly animal-free. Ultimately, the results from this feasibility study used in conjunction with our tissue production methods will deliver a new _in vitro_ system to produce highly-organised, multi-stratified equivalents to bovine, ovine, and porcine meat with a texture and taste that consumers know and love. We therefore expect these innovations to directly address some of the main 'pains' of the cellular meat market, namely by providing natural-looking products with similar characteristics, at a lower production price, and grown without the need of animal slaughter nor use of antibiotics. Ultimately, we expect that a greater adoption of cellular meat by general consumers will eliminate the need for intensive animal farming, thus contributing to lower greenhouse gas emissions worldwide.

Lead Participant

Project Cost

Grant Offer

3d Bio-Tissues Limited £127,757 £ 89,430
 

Participant

Centre for Process Innovation Limited, Redcar, United Kingdom £121,655 £ 121,655

Publications

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