Source: TUFTS UNIVERSITY submitted to
INTEGRATED APPROACHES TO ENHANCE SUSTAINABILITY, RESILIENCY AND ROBUSTNESS IN US AGRI-FOOD SYSTEMS
Sponsoring Institution
National Institute of Food and Agriculture
Project Status
NEW
Funding Source
Reporting Frequency
Annual
Accession No.
1027620
Grant No.
2021-69012-35978
Project No.
MASW-2021-05678
Proposal No.
2021-05678
Multistate No.
(N/A)
Program Code
A9201
Project Start Date
Sep 1, 2021
Project End Date
Aug 31, 2023
Grant Year
2021
Project Director
Kaplan, D.
Recipient Organization
TUFTS UNIVERSITY
28 SAWYER AVE
MEDFORD,MA 02155-5811
Performing Department
Biomedical Engineering
Non Technical Summary
As the world population increases to 10 billion by 2050, total food and meat production must rise by 70 and 100%, respectively, to satisfy global demand. The US food production system faces several issues in meeting this demand due to limited available agricultural water and land and increased greenhouse gas emissions. Increasing water scarcity in major production regions and increasing vulnerability to disruptions from natural disasters due to climate change are just some of the growing issues that prompt the need for new technologies in meat production. Also, a critical challenge in food supply chains is food loss issues that present significant sustainability and security challenges, with 60 percent of meat becoming processing waste (1.4 billion tons for livestock; 800 million tons for seafood). New sources of sustainable protein would help alleviate these concerns and are the focus of the present proposal. Cultivated meat production is emerging as a feasible solution to address immediate societal problems by developing new sustainable agri-food systems to feed a rapidly growing global population. This industry will provide nutritious and safe foods while reducing environmental impact and resource usage (78-96% fewer greenhouse gas emissions, 99% less land use, and 82-96% less water use). This project aims to innovate the food supply chain from cell to fork and enhance food sustainability, nutrition, and food security by developing a cell-based meat platform based on the integration of physical, biological, and social sciences. Cultivated-meat production is emerging as an alternative source of sustainable protein to help address nutrition and food safety for consumer choices. The development of cultivated-meat faces many obstacles on an industrial scale: (a) questions related to consumer acceptance, perceptions and expectations; (b) technical sound life cycle and techno-economic analyses; (c) limited access to low-cost media and suitable cell lines impacting scalability; (b) lack of available sustainable biomaterials to achieve nutritious, safe, and organoleptically accurate cultivated-meat; (c) lack of systematic approaches for training the next generation of professionals. Our central hypothesis is that a sustainable, cost-effective, and scalable cultivated-meat platform will increase food availability options for consumers, while decreasing environmental impact. This proposed work aims to develop new adoptable techno-economically viable cultivated-meat systems and develop new educational platforms for training future professionals through specific aims: 1. Evaluate consumer acceptance and consumer willingness-to-pay for cultivated meats, as well as flavor profiles; 2. Analyze the environmental performance of cultivated meat products in the US; 3. Outreach, extension, and educating the next generation of professionals for workforce development; 4. Develop a sustainable pluripotent stem-cell line platform; 5. Develop economically viable serum-free media; 6. Develop sustainable biomaterials scaffolds, and tissue engineering strategies, to support meat quality; 7. Optimize the processes and biomaterials integration to enhance nutritional value, quality, and safety.
Animal Health Component
0%
Research Effort Categories
Basic
25%
Applied
50%
Developmental
25%
Classification

Knowledge Area (KA)Subject of Investigation (SOI)Field of Science (FOS)Percent
5017010103020%
5027220100015%
7015010202015%
8033260200010%
9033799302020%
4027410301020%
Goals / Objectives
The long-term goal of this project is to develop novel food production systems using transdisciplinary approaches to achieve 40% increase in American agriculture production, with a reduction in environmental footprint by 50%. This project aims to develop new adoptable techno-economically viable cultivated meat systems and develop new educational platforms for training future professionals. To achieve these goals, our interdisciplinary team consists of molecular biologists, biomedical engineers, food engineers, biosystems engineers, data scientists, protein chemists, flavor chemists, sensory experts, food safety specialists, environmental scientists, and consumer specialists and stakeholders from all around the US will be working together on following objectives: 1. Evaluate consumer acceptance, consumer willingness-to-pay and flavor profile of novel meat via cellular agriculture, as both a stand-alone product and an ingredient in prepared dishes; 2. Analyze the environmental performance of cultivated meat products in the US; 3. Develop outreach, extension, and education for the next generation of professionals for workforce development and as technology leaders; 4. Develop sustainable pluripotent stem-cell line platform with the robust, scalable proliferation and differentiation potential for broad utility in the field; as a source of cultivars; 5. Develop economically viable serum-free, value-added media, and media recycling to support cell proliferation and differentiation needs and reduce system waste, by integrating molecular modeling, coarse-graining and long-time scale umbrella sampling methods, artificial intelligence, and high throughput screening to optimize for advanced functionality; 6. Develop sustainable biomaterials scaffolds, tissue engineering strategies, and fermentation technologies to support meat structure, color, and flavor development; 7. Optimize the processes and biomaterials integration to enhance nutritional value, quality, and safety.
Project Methods
This project consists of several integrated research, education, and extension activities to develop innovative technologies, train the next generation professionals and improve outreach and extension activities in cellular agriculture. Aim 1 will evaluate consumer acceptance, consumer willingness-to-pay and flavor profile of novel meat via cellular agriculture, as both a stand-alone product and an ingredient in prepared dishes. We will evaluate the consumer willingness-to-pay for, and drivers of preference of the novel meat using Qualtrics surveys and Real Choice Experiment approach for eliciting preferences and responses to information treatments. We will supplement RCEs with a multi-year online panel. All consumer-facing work will be subject to approval by the Social, Behavioral and Educational Research IRB. We will develop a lexicon for cultivated meat by evaluating the flavor, and sensory attributes, and by applying AI and machine learning for predicting the sensory properties of the products. Aim 2 will analyze the environmental performance of cultivated meat products in the US. We will analyze the life cycle environmental impacts of the cultivated meats using ISO 14044-2006 compliant life cycle assessments. Aim 3. will develop outreach, extension, and education for the next generation of professionals for workforce development and as technology leaders. We will establish a Center of Excellence as a national institute for cellular agriculture (NICA) that will coordinate outcomes of this project and collaborate with other agencies and stakeholders focused on various aspects of cultivated meat. This will include website development, COE extension and training plans, education of future professionals and consumer education. Aim 4. Will focus on developing sustainable pluripotent stem-cell line platform with the robust, scalable proliferation and differentiation potential for broad utility in the field. We will develop pluripotent stem-cell lines from different species and evaluate the proliferation and differentiation potential for developed cell lines. We will characterize the cells such as transfection efficiency, proliferation efficiency, cryopreservation, karyotype, and gene expression analysis. We will also establish myogenic and pre-adipogenic cell lines. Aim 5. Will develop economically viable serum-free, value-added media, and media recycling to support cell proliferation and differentiation needs and reduce system waste, by integrating molecular modeling, coarse-graining and long-time scale umbrella sampling methods, artificial intelligence, and high throughput screening to optimize for advanced functionality. This will be achieved by integrating molecular dynamics, coarse-graining, long-time scale sampling, umbrella sampling methods, artificial intelligence, and high throughput screening to optimize for advanced functionality, utilizing data from different protein sources and bioprocessing methods. We will also apply machine learning techniques to develop and optimize low-cost and effective serum-free growth media for cell-lines. We will also use recirculating cell culture systems for growth media re-use through bio-inspired approaches. Aim 6. Will develop sustainable biomaterials scaffolds, tissue engineering strategies, and fermentation technologies to support meat structure, color, and flavor development. We will optimize the processes and biomaterials integration to enhance nutritional value, quality, and safety. We will explore edible food-grade scaffolding from plant- and microbial-based polymers, we will use different processing technologies including porous 3D printed scaffolds. We will characterize the physicochemical properties of scaffolds. Aim 7. Will optimize the processes and biomaterials integration to enhance nutritional value, quality, and safety. We will assess chemical composition (protein, fat, ash, moisture), amino acids and fatty acid profiles, minerals, vitamins, and chemical score; texture, color, water and oil holding capacity, rheological microstructural and gelation properties, protein solubility, and isoelectric points; microbial and chemical food safety assessments are included, as are shelf-life studies and assessments of thermal stability, protein secondary structure, and kinetics of quality changes in thermally processed cultivated meats.