Three-dimensional tissue fabrication system by co-culture of microalgae and animal cells for production of thicker and healthy cultured food

Biotechnol Lett. 2021 Jun;43(6):1117-1129. doi: 10.1007/s10529-021-03106-0. Epub 2021 Mar 10.


Objectives: "Cultured food" is focused worldwide as "the third stage in meat production system" after hunting and livestock farming, and a sustainable food production system. In this study, we attempted to fabricate a three-dimensional (3-D) tissue by co-cultivation of animal cells with photosynthetic autotrophic microalgae so as to produce thicker and healthy cultured foods.

Results: Metabolism and damage of co-cultured tissues fabricated by microalgae, Chlorella vulgaris (C. vulgaris), and C2C12 cells were compared to monoculture tissues fabricated by C2C12 animal cells alone. Although the metabolism of monoculture tissue showed anaerobic respiration (ratio of lactate production to glucose consumption, LG ratio: 2.01 ± 0.15), that of the co-culture tissue partially changed to efficient aerobic respiration (LG ratio: 1.58 ± 0.14). In addition, the amount of ammonia in the culture media decreased markedly by co-cultivation. The release of lactate dehydrogenase from the thicker tissue was one-seventh in the co-cultivation, showing improved tissue damage. The co-cultivation with microalgae improved the culture condition of thicker tissues, resulting in the fabrication/maintenance of 200-400 µm-thickness tissues. The co-cultured tissue fabricated by microalgae and animal cells was not only rich in nutrients but also enabled thicker tissue fabrication without tissue damage as compared to tissue fabricated by animal cells alone.

Conclusions: This tissue fabrication system by co-culture of microalgae and animal cells will be a valuable tool for the production of thicker and healthy cultured food.

Keywords: Algal technology; Animal cells; Co-cultivation; Metabolism; Microalgae; Tissue engineering.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Ammonia / chemistry
  • Animals
  • Cell Line
  • Coculture Techniques / methods*
  • Culture Media / chemistry
  • Fermented Foods / analysis*
  • Mice
  • Microalgae / growth & development*
  • Myoblasts / cytology*
  • Photosynthesis


  • Culture Media
  • Ammonia