Improving methods for adapting cells to suspension culture can facilitate cell line development and bioprocess design for cultivated meat.
Cell line development
Species-specific genomic studies enabling assay development for regulatory standards and cell line optimization
A suite of assays and genomic knowledge exists for humans and commonly used laboratory species such as mice or fruit flies. However, the same species-specific infrastructure does not exist equally across the species used in cultivated meat, with an especially large gap in seafood species. Commercialized, standardized assays for species identification such as Short Tandem Repeat (STR) or Cytochrome C Oxidase I (COI) assays are needed. Additionally, richer genetic datasets, including thorough genome annotations that facilitate identification of safe harbor loci, can broadly accelerate cell line optimization studies.
Improving our understanding of the relative advantages and disadvantages of different cell types for cultivated meat would enable companies to make these decisions more effectively with less duplicative effort.
Stem cells secrete a variety of signaling factors that can influence the behavior of surrounding cells, known as paracrine signals. In high-density bioprocesses, these secreted factors can accumulate to concentrations that can dramatically influence productivity and behavior of neighboring cells. By mapping the secretome of animal myoblasts, adipocytes, and other stem cells used for cultivated meat, a better understanding of which factors influence proliferation, differentiation, and other cellular traits can be obtained. Mapping efforts will inform how to best leverage this knowledge to improve cultivated meat production.
Given the nascent market for cultivated meats, especially for cultivated seafood, a “Rainbow Roll 2.0” product could be an attractive market-entry commercial product.
Coordinated efforts to develop standardized, comprehensive research toolkits of meat-relevant species would exponentially accelerate cultivated meat research.
Development of humanely-sourced and thoroughly documented and characterized cell lines from a variety of common food species—together with a mechanism for licensing and distributing these lines to researchers and companies—will remove a key barrier to entry into the field of cultivated meat. In addition, development of open-access, standardized protocols for performing cell isolation from a variety of source tissues and establishing robust cell lines will streamline the processes for those who do end up needing to perform their own isolation and cell line establishment.
Because cultivated meat replicates the fundamental biology of the source animal, animal-level data may be informative for predicting cellular behavior in culture.
To recapitulate meat’s fat profile, research is required to determine which lipids muscle and fat cells can produce efficiently—and from which precursors—and which lipids they can absorb directly from the culture media. Understanding the effects of specific fats on organoleptic properties will help to focus these efforts.