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

Foods. 2019 Oct 21;8(10):521. doi: 10.3390/foods8100521.


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.

Keywords: bioartificial muscle; bovine myosatellite cells; cell-based meat; cellular agriculture; cultured meat; heme proteins; hemoglobin; meat color; muscle constructs; myoglobin; skeletal muscle tissue engineering; tissue color.