A doctoral student shows a scaffold of fat cells grown in the Cellular Agriculture lab.

Overview: Summary of Activities

The team at Tufts covers a broad range of needs in research related to Cellular Agriculture, see our publications listed as well as individual summaries under personnel. The topics converge in areas such as the following:

  • Cells – cell sourcing (e.g., livestock, fish, crustacean, insect), cell immortalization methods, cell characterization, cell storage and stability, co-culture systems, genetically-modified cells for enhanced features
  • Media – serum free media, media supplementation, alternative sources of growth factors, agricultural inputs to media needs, cost reduction approaches, metabolomics needs
  • Scaffolding – sources of materials, purification, characterization, processing into useful structures, 3D printing, extrusion, 3D systems, thermal impact on properties, nutrition, digestibility, cost reduction approaches
  • Modeling and Informatics – developing models to improve predictive outcomes in terms of growth substrates, the composition of media, cell interactions; genomics, proteomics, metabolomics related to cell culture, cell expansion, cell differentiation, scale up, media composition, etc. 
  • Bioreactors and Scale up –bioreactor designs to address scale up needs
  • Media Recovery and Use – options to recycle or purify media components to improve cell culture efficiency, lower costs, etc.
  • Lifecycle and Techno-Economic Analysis (LCA, TEA) – assessments of processes related to costs, sustainability, and environmental impact
  • Consumer Assessments – consumer assessments of cellular agriculture
  • Nutrition and Safety – assessments of cell ag food nutritional content, safety, etc.

Timelapse of muscle cell development

Muscle stem cells are quiescent in the adult muscle. In response to injury (e.g., exercise), they typically become activated, proliferate, and undergo myogenic differentiation, then fuse and restore damaged muscle while allowing repopulation of the stem cell niche. During cultivated meat processing, the starter cells can be harvested and isolated from a tissue biopsy and expanded to large numbers in bioreactor tanks filled with cell nutrition. The cells can then be stimulated to structure into muscle tissue before the biomass is harvested.

Illustration of muscle cell development stages