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Application of Animal Cell Culture Technology in Artificial Meat Research

The challenge of cell culture artificial meat production is how to efficiently simulate the growth environment of animal muscle tissue and achieve large-scale production in bioreactors. Although animal cell tissue culture technology has been in-depth research and has been successfully applied to varying degrees, large-scale industrial culture cannot be realized due to the high cost and technical requirements of existing animal cell tissue culture. Therefore, for the production of artificial meat, it is urgent problem to develop efficient and safe large-scale cell culture technology, which can effectively reduce production costs and realize the industrial application.

In recent years, cultured meat has attracted widespread attention due to its traceable source, green safety, and taste closer to traditional meat. Researchers select animals with the best genetics, extract stem cells or tissues that can proliferate efficiently and put them in a petri dish for propagation, and then differentiate them into the original fibers of muscle tissue. Cell-cultured meat does not consume feed and water in the production process, and does not require waste disposal. While meeting human demand for meat, it also solves social and environmental problems caused by traditional farming, including hormone-free antibiotics and environmental sustainability, animal friendly treatment etc. Cell-cultured meat is closer to real meat products in terms of nutrition, taste and flavor. It is the main research and development direction of artificial meat in the future, but there are still many challenges at the theoretical and technical levels, especially the low-cost acquisition and foodization of large-scale muscle cells.

Cell culture meat is also known as in vitro meat, biologists have used animal cell tissue culture methods to produce the first whole piece of artificial meat in history, which has attracted widespread attention. Animal cell culture artificial meat is mainly composed of skeletal muscle containing different cells, and these skeletal muscle fibers are formed through the proliferation, differentiation and fusion of embryonic stem cells or muscle satellite cells. They first isolated primitive stem cells that could grow and differentiate, and accelerated cell proliferation and differentiation by adding a culture medium rich in amino acids, lipids, and vitamins to obtain a large number of bovine muscle tissue cells. Subsequently, Memphis Meat, Japan's Nissin and many other foreign companies also used similar cell culture strategies to produce new types of artificial meat. However, the current yield of artificial meat obtained through cell tissue culture is still very low, the cost is high, and it is not enough to form large-scale muscle tissue for sale as food. Therefore, developing efficient, safe, and low-cost animal cell culture technology and constructing a growth environment for muscle cell tissue of cattle or other animals will become a key issue in the industrial production of artificial meat.

How to choose the appropriate initial cell source in the process of animal cell tissue culture has always been a hot and difficult issue in research. Among them, the main challenge of tissue culture of artificial meat cells is the need to separate and obtain a large number of uniform initial cells from tissues, which can effectively and continuously proliferate and differentiate, and realize large-scale production of artificial meat.

The source of pre-animal tissue engineering cell culture cells is mainly stem cells isolated from primary tissues, such as embryonic stem cells, muscle stem cells, mesenchymal stem cells, and adult stem cells. Among them, muscle stem cells and mesenchymal stem cells are the most widely used in the research of artificial meat. They can differentiate into different cells through special chemical, biological induction or mechanical stimulation during the proliferation process. Although in theory, different stem cell lines can proliferate indefinitely after establishment, but the accumulation of cell mutations during the proliferation process often affects the expansion ability of tissue culture, leading to cell senescence and termination of growth.

In addition, in order to improve the ability of cells to proliferate continuously, researchers also induce mutations in original tissues or cell lines through genetic engineering or chemical methods, so as to promote unlimited proliferation of cells and cultivate corresponding cell populations. These continuously proliferating cells can reduce the dependence on fresh tissue samples and accelerate cell proliferation and differentiation, but they often bring about safety issues such as non-benign proliferation of cells.

With people's pursuit of health, environmental protection and high-quality food, how to innovate and develop future agricultural product production and processing technology is a major problem that needs to be solved urgently. Using cell factories as seeds to bio-manufacture future green agricultural products including starch, protein, meat, milk, and eggs can not only provide human beings with high-quality food sources but also eliminate the need for large-scale planting of crops and animals, which can effectively save natural resources and energy. With the development of biology and food technology, more and more agricultural products will go to the road of artificial biosynthesis in the future. This will also be the development trend of no hormones and antibiotics, no food allergens, green, safe and high-quality agricultural products.

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