University of Bath researchers explore tissue engineering to grow meat

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Researchers at the University of Bath are growing animal cells on blades of grass, as they play their part in helping the UK understand how to effectively scale up production of cultured meat.

News of the research has attracted interest from national print and broadcast media including the BBC, Daily Mail, the i, and Express.

The team are creating cultured or lab-grown meat by taking a biopsy from an animal such as a pig or cow and then stem cells from that sample are placed in a bioreactor in a laboratory, where they are fed a solution of glucose, amino acids, vitamins and minerals.

This blend of cells and nutrients in specific conditions will allow the cells to develop into mature muscle cells that will form cultured meat.

If this process can be reproduced on an industrial scale, meat eaters could soon be enjoying a slaughter-free supply of meat products.

The current texture of cultured meat makes it best suited to sausages and burgers. However, it is hoped that products such as steak and bacon rashers will be developed in the future.

Led by Dr Marianne Ellis, Senior Lecturer in Biochemical Engineering in the University’s Department of Chemical Engineering, the multidisciplinary team with expertise in biochemical engineering (Mr Scott Allan, New Harvest Fellow; Mr Moein Mirfakhar), plus biology (Dr Ruth Wonfor and Nicholas Shorten, Aberystwyth University) and biomaterials (Dr Paul De Bank, Travis Callue, Department of Pharmacy & Pharmacology; Dr Janet Scott, Department of Chemistry, University of Bath) is focusing on the effective scale-up of cultured meat.

Dr Ellis’ work is currently funded by New Harvest, the University of Bath and the EPSRC.

Reference: PN 19-19