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Extracellular Heme Proteins Influence Bovine Myosatellite Cell Proliferation and the Color of Cell-Based Meat

Journal article
Authors Robin Simsa
J. Yuen
A. Stout
N. Rubio
Per Fogelstrand
D. L. Kaplan
Published in Foods
Volume 8
Issue 10
Pages 19
Publication year 2019
Published at Wallenberg Laboratory
Pages 19
Language en
Keywords cell-based meat, cultured meat, skeletal muscle tissue engineering, muscle constructs, bioartificial muscle, heme proteins, hemoglobin, myoglobin, meat color, tissue color, bovine myosatellite cells, cellular, agriculture, skeletal-muscle tissue, satellite cells, digital camera, nitric-oxide, myoglobin, hemoglobin, expression, fibrin, differentiation, acceptance
Subject categories Clinical Medicine


Skeletal muscle-tissue engineering can be applied to produce cell-based meat for human consumption, but growth parameters need to be optimized for efficient production and similarity to traditional meat. The addition of heme proteins to plant-based meat alternatives was recently shown to increase meat-like flavor and natural color. To evaluate whether heme proteins also have a positive effect on cell-based meat production, bovine muscle satellite cells (BSCs) were grown in the presence of hemoglobin (Hb) or myoglobin (Mb) for up to nine days in a fibrin hydrogel along 3D-printed anchor-point constructs to generate bioartificial muscles (BAMs). The influence of heme proteins on cell proliferation, tissue development, and tissue color was analyzed. We found that the proliferation and metabolic activity of BSCs was significantly increased when Mb was added, while Hb had no, or a slightly negative, effect. Hb and, in particular, Mb application led to a very similar color of BAMs compared to cooked beef, which was not noticeable in groups without added heme proteins. Taken together, these results indicate a potential benefit of adding Mb to cell culture media for increased proliferation and adding Mb or Hb for the coloration of cell-based meat.

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