Cellular agriculture is the cultivation of agricultural commodities from cells rather than whole animals. It includes the production of animal agriculture products through cell culture, tissue engineering, and related biotechnologies. By producing foods (e.g., meat, dairy, eggs) and other commodities (e.g., leather) from cells, rather than the intensified livestock production, cellular agriculture can address the growing demand for high-quality proteins and healthy foods while enabling improvements in food sustainability, food security, and personalized nutrition. Cellular agriculture can be segmented into two main categories: cellular and acellular. Cellular products are composed of cells (e.g., meat, leather), and acellular products are made by cells but not composed of cells (e.g., dairy proteins, gelatin). Cellular agriculture is highly interdisciplinary, requiring convergent expertise and innovations across cell biology, tissue engineering, mechanical engineering, food and nutrition science, computation modeling, and more.

Key Challenges

Innovation in cellular agriculture faces key challenges: bioprocess scale and cost, a lack of standards and understanding around safety and nutritional value, number available cell types and propagation systems, whether or not genetic engineering will be acceptable to consumers, and uncertainty around environmental and economic implications of specific approaches. At present, the field is characterized by hundreds of start-ups and established food companies aiming to commercialize cultivated meats, protein-based products (e.g., dairy, eggs), and novel materials (e.g., leather, fur), a handful of decentralized academic efforts, and nonprofit organizations that advocate for and fund research in the space. Broadly, the field lacks a strong scientific foundation in peer-reviewed literature, a skilled workforce, a coordinated collaboration between public and private stakeholders, and breakthrough innovations that stand to improve the economic feasibility of relevant technologies.


Tufts University has established this center to accelerate cellular agriculture research. We work closely with students and faculty across disciplines within our ecosystem at Tufts, as well as with other universities and colleges and with industry and regulators, to foster the growth of this burgeoning industry. We aim to provide a solid scientific foundation via published, peer-reviewed data, bring innovation in technology, provide consistency in quality measures to guide the field, and foster workforce development and broader educational impact.

Cellular agriculture drawing