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10th February 2021  Product update: new protein staff writer

Fetal Bovine Serum-Free Growth Media for Culturing Meat Cells

CPI has announced the commencement of a project in collaboration with 3D Bio-Tissues Ltd (3DBT) to develop an improved growth media for culturing meat cells in a lab environment.

The project aims to increase cultured meat yields and remove the need for animal-derived products, making cellular agriculture as sustainable and economical as possible. 

Livestock farming for food production is responsible for 18% of total global greenhouse gas emissions. Improving access to more efficient and environmentally-friendly sources of protein will help to meet the nutritional needs of the growing population sustainably. One way of achieving this is cellular agriculture, which involves the in vitro culturing of muscle and fat cells to produce meat products without the farming or slaughter of any animals.

However, current methods of producing cultured meat produce low yields and involve the use of animal-derived Fetal Bovine Serum (FBS). As a result, the products are expensive and not truly animal-free. 

3DBT – a spin-out of Newcastle University – aims to use recent developments in cell and tissue engineering to develop a high-yield, serum-free media for culturing muscle and fat cells. This will support a more efficient, low-emission system for cellular meat production, ultimately creating affordable and sustainable products.

CPI will utilise its wealth of experience and state-of-the-art facilities to support 3DBT’s development of cell feeding media that incorporates a new class of growth-promoting supplements for increased biomass production.

These supplements aim at eliminating the need for expensive FBS and can be sourced from existing agro-industrial by-products, therefore reducing costs as well as the carbon footprint of cultured meat production. High-throughput screening will be used to identify optimal conditions for growth to further maximise cellular meat yield.

This project will be funded by a grant from Innovate UK and aims to make an important contribution to reducing the environmental impact associated with meat production. The project will be carried out at CPI’s National Biologics Manufacturing Centre in Darlington, UK, drawing on CPI’s expertise in bioprocess optimisation to facilitate scale-up.

Dr Ricardo Gouveia, CSO at 3DBT, said: ​“We’re delighted to work with CPI on this project. The expert support will help us to transform the production of cultured meat, making it economical, sustainable and accessible. We hope this will not only make it more appealing to consumers but will be crucial to meeting the nutritional needs of the growing population.”

Clare Trippett, Chief Technologist, Biologics at CPI, said: ​“This project is an important step towards developing an efficient process for producing cultured meat at an industrial scale that will be accepted by consumers. We’re looking forward to working with 3DBT on this exciting project.” 



Date Published: 10th February 2021

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