Decellularized spinach: An edible scaffold for laboratory-grown meat

March 20, 2021

Authors: Jones, Jordan D.; Rebello, Alex S.; Gaudette, Glenn R.

Keywords: cellular agriculture, cultured meat, laboratory-grown meat, In vitro meat production

It is projected that by the year 2050, there will be insufficient land suitable for agriculture to feed the world. Cellular agriculture has the potential to produce meat that replicates the structure of traditionally produced meat while minimizing the land needed. There is a need for an edible scaffold suitable for the growth of animal muscle. This study showed that decellularizing spinach leaves produced an edible scaffold that has a vascular network that could potentially maintain the viability of primary bovine satellite cells as they develop into meat. Primary bovine satellite cells were cultured on the surface of decellularized spinach leaves and gelatin coated glass for 7 and 14 days. After 14 days, primary bovine satellite cells seeded on the decellularized leaf scaffold maintained ~99% viability; and ~25% of the cells showed expression of myosin heavy-chain. Cell alignment varied between animals from which the cells were acquired. Areas of alignment were observed showing an average kappa value for cytoskeletal alignment of 0.71 ± 0.1 after 14 days in culture. There was no statistical significance in each category between cells cultured on gelatin coated glass and decellularized spinach leaves. These results suggested that decellularized spinach is a cost-efficient and environmentally friendly scaffold, that can potentially accelerate the development of laboratory-grown meat by providing an edible substrate for bovine satellite cells.