Scientists develop novel technique to grow meat in lab using magnetic field

New method is a greener, cleaner, safer and more cost-effective way to produce cell-based meat

Scientist from the National University of Singapore (NUS) have found a novel way of growing cell-based meat by zapping animal cells with a magnet. This new technique simplifies the production process of cell-based meat by reducing reliance on animal products, and it is also greener, cleaner, safer and more cost-effective.

To cultivate cell-based meat, animal cells are fed animal serum – usually foetal bovine serum (FBS), which is a mixture harvested from the blood of foetuses excised from pregnant cows slaughtered in the dairy or meat industries – to help them grow and proliferate. This is a critical, yet cruel and expensive, step in the current cell-based meat production process.

The NUS technique uses a delicately tuned pulsed magnetic field developed by the team to culture myogenic stem cells, which are found in skeletal muscle and bone marrow tissue.

Associate Professor Alfredo Franco-Obregón, who is from the NUS Institute for Health Innovation & Technology and the NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, explained, “In response to a short 10-minute exposure to the magnetic fields, the cells release a myriad of molecules that have regenerative, metabolic, anti-inflammatory and immunity-boosting properties. These substances are part of what is known as the muscle “secretome” (for secreted factors) and are necessary for the growth, survival and development of cells into tissues. We are very excited about the possibility that magnetically-stimulated secretome release may one day replace the need for FBS in the production of cultured meat.”

A patent has also been filed for this novel technology and the NUS team is currently in active discussions with potential industry partners to commercialise the technology.

Image credit- NUS Singapore

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