octubre 2022

Assessing edible filamentous fungal carriers as cell supports for growth of yeast and cultivated meat

Minami Ogawa, Jaime Moreno García, Nitin Nitin, Keith Baar, David E Block


The growth and activity of adherent cells can be enabled or enhanced through attachment to a solid surface. For food and beverage production processes, these solid supports should be food-grade, low-cost, and biocompatible with the cell of interest. Solid supports that are edible can be a part of the final product, thus simplifying downstream operations in the production of fermented beverages and lab grown meat. We provide proof of concept that edible filamentous fungal pellets can function as a solid support by assessing the attachment and growth of two model cell types: yeast, and myoblast cells. The filamentous fungus Aspergillus oryzae was cultured to produce pellets with 0.9 mm diameter. These fungal pellets were inactivated by heat or chemical methods and characterized physicochemically. Chemically inactivated pellets had the lowest dry mass and were the most hydrophobic. Scanning electron microscope images showed that both yeast and myoblast cells naturally adhered to the fungal pellets. Over 48 h of incubation, immobilized yeast increased five-fold on active pellets and six-fold on heat-inactivated pellets. Myoblast cells proliferated best on heat-treated pellets, where viable cell activity increased almost two-fold, whereas on chemically inactivated pellets myoblasts did not increase in the cell mass. These results support the use of filamentous fungi as a novel cell immobilization biomaterial for food technology applications.