Kai is investigating the use of New Zealand’s agricultural byproducts to replace animal-derived ingredients in a serum-free medium. Kai is using a high-throughput screening method to identify possible ingredients to make this process as efficient as possible. Alongside this work, Kai is also developing a deer cell line for cultured venison, which he hopes to grow in this new medium.


human plasma separated from human red blood cells

The aftermath of Kai’s first attempt at separating platelet-rich plasma from red blood cells. Platelet lysates from human donors have been used as an FBS replacement, and Kai wants to use platelet lysates from adult bovine blood – a readily available and cheap byproduct of the existing meat industry – to replace FBS in cultured meat until plant-based media becomes commercially viable.

Kai Steinmetz in front of the Operetta high-content imaging system

Kai in front of the Operetta high-content imaging system, which helps him analyze the effects of different conditions on cell proliferation and differentiation.

C2C12 myotubes

C2C12 (🐁) cells differentiated in DMEM containing 5% platelet lysate. Large myotubes are visible