Scaffolds play a crucial role in the development of cultured meat, which is an innovative technology aimed at producing meat products without the need for traditional animal agriculture.
Scaffolds are three-dimensional structures or frameworks that provide support for cell growth and enable the formation of complex tissue structures. In the context of cultured meat, scaffolds act as a framework for the cultured cells to attach, grow, and differentiate, mimicking the natural process of muscle formation in animals.
Innocent Meat is using edible scaffolds to grow its adult stem cells and eventually differentiate them into fat and muscle tissue. These scaffolds support the cells within the process to reach high cell densities that are needed for cultivated meat products.
The 0.2 mm big macroporous microcarriers (left) show a porosity of over 90 % and allow the cells to grow into that void volume resulting in small, edible tissue spheres. During expansion, cells grow on the surface and into the pores to increase the available biomass. This process can be followed by staining of these cells with blue dye (DAPI - right).
Scaffolds can be designed to mimic the extracellular matrix (ECM), which is a network of proteins and other molecules present in living tissues. The ECM provides structural support, regulates cell behavior, and facilitates nutrient and waste exchange. By mimicking the ECM, scaffolds enhance cell adhesion, proliferation, and tissue organization, resulting in the formation of meat-like structures.
DAPI/alpha tubulin staining of the scaffolds with muscle stem cells after 24h (Seeding: 750.000/ml) that are going in formation and covering the surface area (10x and 20x, respectively)
The use of scaffolds in cultured meat production offers several advantages. Firstly, scaffolds provide mechanical support, enabling the growth of larger and more complex muscle tissues. They also facilitate nutrient distribution, waste removal, and oxygenation, essential for cell survival and tissue development. Moreover, scaffolds can guide the alignment of muscle fibers, resulting in improved texture and tenderness of the final product.
With our proprietary scaffold production system, we have found a cost-effective solution for producing the necessary component for large scale application in cultured meat development. This fully edible product can be used for a high output of cells in order to meet the necessary demand of cultured meat.