Journal article Open Access

Scaffolds for Cultured Meat on the Basis of Polysaccharide Hydrogels Enriched with Plant-Based Proteins

Wollschlaeger, Jannis O.; Maatz, Robin; Albrecht, Franziska B.; Klatt, Annemarie; Heine, Simon; Blaeser, Andreas; Kluger, Petra J.

The world population is growing and alternative ways of satisfying the increasing demand for meat are being explored, such as using animal cells for the fabrication of cultured meat. Edible biomaterials are required as supporting structures. Hence, we chose agarose, gellan and a xanthan-locust bean gum blend (XLB) as support materials with pea and soy protein additives and analyzed them regarding material properties and biocompatibility. We successfully built stable hydrogels containing up to 1% pea or soy protein. Higher amounts of protein resulted in poor handling properties and unstable gels. The gelation temperature range for agarose and gellan blends is between 23–30 °C, but for XLB blends it is above 55 °C. A change in viscosity and a decrease in the swelling behavior was observed in the polysaccharide-protein gels compared to the pure polysaccharide gels. None of the leachates of the investigated materials had cytotoxic effects on the myoblast cell line C2C12. All polysaccharide-protein blends evaluated turned out as potential candidates for cultured meat. For cell-laden gels, the gellan blends were the most suitable in terms of processing and uniform distribution of cells, followed by agarose blends, whereas no stable cell-laden gels could be formed with XLB blends.

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