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Cell Culture Meat Technology and Industrialization Progress and The Application of Immortalized Cells in The Process

Cell-cultured meat is the use of animal cell culture to produce edible meat. It has many potential advantages such as reducing animal slaughter, shortening the production cycle of meat products, and being green and efficient. It is a new technology for future animal protein production. The core goal of cell-based meat is to produce meat products with the same nutritional value and organoleptic properties as livestock-raised meat. In recent years, the field of cell culture meat has developed rapidly in basic research and key technologies, the production scale has gradually expanded, and the production cost has been greatly reduced. In addition, the rapid development of large-scale enlarged production and supervision and testing has laid the foundation for the industrial production of cultured meat.

Research and industrialization progress and challenges of cell cultured meat

Requirements for the seed cells of cultured meat: the cells should be easy to obtain, be able to proliferate continuously in vitro and have high myotube differentiation efficiency; during the culture process, the genome of the cells should be relatively stable. With the development of technology and the requirements for large-scale production, there are more requirements for culturing meat seed cells, including: the seed cells can continue to proliferate in vitro, the genome of the cells should be relatively stable, and form a production cell line; during large-scale culture, the cells can better resist shear force and can differentiate to produce one or more of muscle, fat or matrix protein.

The seed cells of cultured meat are generally immortalized cells, muscle stem cells, adipose-derived mesenchymal stem cells, fibroblasts and smooth muscle cells. However, generally muscle tissue contains a large number of cell types. As the culture progresses, the proportion of a certain cell will gradually increase or decrease, which is not conducive to subsequent standardized production, so a purification process is generally required. Muscle stem cells are generally purified using the pre-attachment method. With the deepening of stem cell research, high-purity muscle stem cells can be sorted by flow cytometry through the surface markers of muscle stem cells. Similarly, high-purity porcine adipose precursor cells can also be obtained by using the established flow sorting method, while fibroblasts and smooth muscle cells with collagen secretion ability are generally directly separated by the wall-attachment method.

In recent years, with the deepening of related research, the field of cell culture meat has made great progress in the research of serum-free and even chemically defined media. Based on the rapid development of omics technology (transcriptome, proteome, and metabolome), as well as the rapid development and application of high-content microscopy equipment, the optimization speed of culture media has been rapidly improved. At present, a large number of medium companies are engaged in large-scale medium production, which lays a solid foundation for the industrialization of medium in the later stage of cultured meat.

In addition to the characteristics of the cells themselves that need to differentiate into muscle, fat or form matrix proteins, scaffolds are also very important for culturing meat. Currently, the main types of scaffolds suitable for industrial production of cultured meat are porous scaffolds and hydrogel scaffolds. The scaffold material should be derived from polysaccharides and protein materials of plants or microorganisms, such as soybean protein, corn protein, alginic acid, cellulose, and the like. Structural simulation is one of the technical difficulties in this field. In addition to biological materials, large-scale differentiation bioreactors or automated equipment that can be applied are also the key to the industrial production of cultured meat.

As a new type of meat production method, cell culture meat products are completely different from traditional meat safety evaluation and supervision methods. According to the current international regulations on cell cultured meat and the new food regulations of relevant countries that may involve the supervision of cell cultured meat, the production raw materials such as cell lines, culture media, scaffolds and food risks that may arise during the production process are included in the regulatory details.

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