Plant-based hydrogels for muscle culture
The University of Vermont, United States
Who: Irfan Tahir, Ph.D. student in mechanical engineering
When: 2021 – Present
Institutes: The University of Vermont, United States
Supervisors: Rachel Oldinski-Floreani, associate professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Vermont
Irfan is using a plant-based material derived from seaweed, called alginate, to create hydrogel scaffolds for cultured meat. He intends to fine-tune the scaffold to mimic a cell’s natural environment in the body, creating ideal conditions for muscle growth and eventual tissue formation.
By mimicking the cells’ natural environment with the scaffold, cells can be grown and multiplied to form muscle tissue. However, not all scaffolds used in muscle culture are edible! By using this plant-based material, Irfan’s work will bring the field closer to edible cultured meat products.