In cultivated meat production, basal or base media (cell feed) is used to describe the media from which the meat cells grow. This media has previously been comprised of ‘very costly’ pharma-grade ingredients, but a collaboration in the Netherlands is working to dramatically reduce this price tag.
Cultivated meat player Mosa Meat – whose co-founder Mark Post was behind the world’s first cultured beef burger in 2013 – is collaborating with animal nutrition and aqua feed company Nutreco, an existing investor in the cell-based meat pioneer.
Having signed a letter of intent (LOI), the duo is committed to reducing the cost of cell feed and scaling up production. The LOI follows confirmation from scientists at both companies that a basal media formulated with food-grade ingredients instead of pharma-grade ones performs ‘equally well’ at a ‘substantially’ lower cost.
Key components of the basal media include amino acids, minerals, vitamins and glucose, Mosa Meat CEO Maarten Bosch explained. “These are derived from the food industry and sustainable crops, such as pea and wheat.”
So far, the collaboration has seen 99.2% of the basal media by weight been successfully replaced by food-grade components in the serum-free cell feed.
Mosa Meat did not disclose details on cost savings from switching to food-grade from pharma-grade ingredients but told us it expects to see a cost reduction in the order of 100x or more.
“Our partnership with Nutreco represents our commitment to further develop the cellular agriculture supply chain and bring down costs,” Bosch. “Our scientific results are an industry first, proving that food-grade ingredients perform equivalent to pharma-grade in cell feed. This will represent a significant cost savings are we scale up production.”
The LOI comes less than two years after the duo received a European REACT-EU grant for their joint basal media-focused ‘Feed for Meat’ project, worth close to €2m.