Cellular Agriculture

Cellular agriculture focuses on the production of agricultural products from cell cultures using a combination of biotechnology, tissue engineering, and molecular biology. New methods have been developed for production of proteins, fats, and tissues that would otherwise come from traditional agriculture and fisheries. Currently, the industry is focused on cell-culture based animal products such as meat, as an alternative to livestock.

Cellular Agriculture

Learn more about how HMT is supporting Cellular Agriculture research with our CE-MS and LC-MS platforms!

Q353 – A targeted quantitative panel that measures 353 metabolites including amino acids, anti oxidants, ketoacids, nucleic acids, polyamines and catecholamines in cell media and tissues critical for measuring intra and inter cellular metabolites and nutrients.

OMEGA SCAN – A untargeted metabolite profiling method that focuses on polar metabolites including small and middle chain fatty acids, essential and non-essential amino acids, sugar phosphates, vitamins and host of polar intercellular and extracellular components.

LCMS Lipidomics– A untargeted metabolite profiling method that focuses on lipid metabolites including essential long chain fatty acids, steroids, carotenes, and long chain carnitines.

Combination Platforms – For the most comprehensive coverage, all of these options can be combined into one analysis.

Cell Lines

A fundamental missing piece in the advancement of cultured meat is the availability of appropriate cellular materials. While some methods and protocols from human and mouse cell culture may apply to agricultural cellular materials, it has become clear that most do not apply to cellular agriculture. The end-product, an eatable, scalable meat substitute with all the quality attributes of taste, texture and nutrient content, requires a different approach for cell line culture development.

Growth Media

Conventional methods for growing animal tissue in culture involves the use of fetal bovine serum (FBS). FBS is a blood product extracted from fetal calves. This product supplies cells with nutrients and stimulating growth factors, but is unsustainable and resource-heavy to produce, with large batch-to-batch variation. This had led to cultured meat companies to invest significant resources into alternative growth media. Efforts to remove serum from the growth media are key to the advancement of cellular agriculture, as FBS has been the target of most criticisms of cellular agriculture and cultured meat production. It is likely that two different media formulations will be required for each cell type: a proliferation media, for growth, and a differentiation media for maturation.

Product Structure

Current methods of culturing meat are capable of producing unstructured meat products, but structured meat or scaffolded products have remained elusive. Unstructured meat, simply put, does not have a real structure, where structured meat has a specific composition of cells similar to that of the wild type of meat. Additionally, it’s not just the type of cells that characterize meat, but the arrangement (vertical, horizontal or slanted) is critical as well.

One method of obtaining a specific structure is by using 3D printing technology. It’s based around additive manufacturing — extruding the cells layer by layer until it forms a particular shape. This process is highly favored because it is fast, cheap, highly controllable, and does not use other materials which have the potential to interrupt or alter biochemical processes.

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