Matrix F.T. scales wet lab for plant-based nanofiber scaffolds used in cell-based meat cultivation
28 Apr 2022 --- Cell-based solutions provider Matrix F.T. is scaling a new wet lab for designing custom scaffolding systems for cultured meat producers. The US-based food-tech company assists in growing cultivated protein with edible, plant-based nanofiber scaffolds and microcarriers.
Complementing Matrix F.T.’s existing engineering lab, the new facility will further strengthen the company’s R&D offering and accelerate the exploration and execution of various custom scaffold projects currently underway.
“Before opening the wet lab, Matrix F.T. relied heavily on customer feedback to learn if the scaffolds we custom-engineered for their applications were working,” said Teryn Wolfe, Matrix F.T.’s vice president of corporate development.
“Now that we can provide partners with a more robust suite of R&D offerings, we’re able to have greater control and deliver results at the speed needed to help our customers scale. This is another important step in our ability to fuel innovation across the board, and we’re proud to continue to lead in the cultivated protein space.”
Optimizing cell proliferation
The new facility is deemed “instrumental” in shortening the gap between engineering custom plant-based, nanofiber scaffolds and delivering a final product to help cultivated meat companies bring their products to market.
“By developing precise protocols and procedures, and fully testing in-house via the new laboratory, Matrix F.T.’s team of scientists can now make adjustments faster, impacting overall cost, efficiency and optimizing cell proliferation and adhesion in animal component-free (ACF) conditions,” states the company.
The company utilizes a manufacturing process called electrode spinning, which was developed using more than 15 years of research by co-founder Dr. Jed Johnson in the development of three dimensional nanofiber scaffolds for regenerative medicine and tissue engineering.
This proprietary process transforms an array of different synthetic or organic compounds into a structural replacement for the non-muscle, non-fat (extracellular) proteins in all types of cell-based meat.
Cell-based revolution gaining momentum
The cell-based meat movement is in full-swing, as regulatory pathways begin to open up for the novel food. In the US, Pearlita Foods, a cell-based mollusk company, recently announced that it will soon produce the world’s first “ocean-free” cultured oysters.
Earlier this week, cell-based shrimp manufacturer CellMEAT detailed its ambition to bring its flagship Dokdo shrimp to markets in South Korea, the US and Singapore by 2024.
However, South Korea has not yet approved a definition for cultivated meat, which explains CellMEAT’s target to first release its products in Singapore, the first country in the world to approve cell-based products.
In other developments, Upside Foods, formerly known as Memphis Meats, closed a US$400 million series C funding round, the most significant round in industry to date.
Meanwhile, in South Africa, Mogale Meat Co. created its first cell-based chicken breast product, hailed as the first-of-its-kind. The product – composed of real chicken muscle and fat cells blended with a mushroom matrix – is the first of many prototypes Mogale is planning to spotlight.
By Benjamin Ferrer
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