Cell-cultured, or cultivated, meat is a technology that some say could revolutionize the global food system, feeding more people with nutritious protein without harming animals.
The idea is gaining traction. Last year, KFC-Russia began using the tech to produce real chicken meat grown from cells.
Cultivated meat is produced by invitro cell culture of animal muscle tissue cells, instead of from slaughtered animals. Scientists draw the cells from animals, then feed and nurture them so they multiply. They are then assembled in groups to form small muscle tissue (called scaffolds) that are very similar to muscle fibers in a steak. For perspective, it takes 20,000 of those fibers to create one normal sized hamburger.
In December 2020, Columbus, OH-based Matrix Meats, a company that manufactures the custom-engineered 3D nanofiber, animal-free matrix for the meat to be grown on, announced the completion of their seed stage funding round. The round will allow the company to expand its scientific, manufacturing and business development teams, intensify the acquisition of customer/partners and further develop key strategic relationships within the cultivated meat market.
“We are material scientists. We use manufacturing technology and electrospinning to produce a fabric-like product. Because of the techniques we’ve developed, we are able to control the fiber diameter, the porosity, the degradation rate, etc. We can control all these variables that people previously weren’t previously able to control,” Matrix Meats CEO Eric Jenkusky told Flyover Future.
The technology itself has been used for a number of years in the regenerative medicine space. “We had expertise in that space. When we saw the cultivated meat industry popping up, we knew our technology could be applied to it,” Jenkusky said.
Jed Johnson, PhD, co-founder and CTO of Matrix Meats, is a recognized expert in tailoring nano-fiber technology for life science applications and has been working in the field for over a decade. Jenkusky, who also owns a manufacturing company called T.J. Clark International that creates fuel and water distribution systems for the Department of Defense, said when he was asked to participate in the development of Matrix Meats, he didn’t know what it was all about.
“But once I understood how the industry would positively affect the word from an animal rights perspective and also provide a means to feed the world as the population begins to grow, I was in,” he said. It’s not every day you get invited to participate in a product that can affect everyone on the planet.”