Singapore Research Team Develops Plant-Based, Edible Cell Culture Scaffolds

May 5, 2023
Successful research by team from the National University of Singapore (NUS) could lead to more affordable, sustainable lab-grown meat.

According to a recent release from the National University of Singapore (NUS), a research team has successfully used common plant proteins to 3D-print an edible cell culture scaffold, allowing more affordable and sustainable lab-grown meat to be served on the table.

Scaffolds provide structural support for the skeletal muscle cells used to grow cultured meat as those cells multiply and develop into tissues. Today, cell culture scaffolds are typically made from synthetic or animal-based materials, which are either too expensive or inedible. The NUS team, led by Professor Huang Dejian, deputy head of the NUS Department of Food Science and Technology, turned to plant proteins, which are biodegradable, biocompatible with animal cells and in line with common requirements for food consumption.

The team’s work, in line with NUS’ thrust to produce cutting-edge sustainability research, was published in the journal Advanced Materials on Oct. 22, 2022.

About the Author

Andy Hanacek | Senior Editor

Andy Hanacek has covered meat, poultry, bakery and snack foods as a B2B editor for nearly 20 years, and has toured hundreds of processing plants and food companies, sharing stories of innovation and technological advancement throughout the food supply chain. In 2018, he won a Folio:Eddie Award for his unique "From the Editor's Desk" video blogs, and he has brought home additional awards from Folio and ASBPE over the years. In addition, Hanacek led the Meat Industry Hall of Fame for several years and was vice president of communications for We R Food Safety, a food safety software and consulting company.

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