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SBIR Phase II:Meat substitutes combining cultured animal cells with plant-based fibers

Award Information
Agency: National Science Foundation
Branch: N/A
Contract: 2303460
Agency Tracking Number: 2303460
Amount: $997,986.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: BT
Solicitation Number: NSF 22-552
Solicitation Year: 2022
Award Year: 2023
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2023-10-01
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2025-09-30
Small Business Information
24 Park Street, Suite 10.
Somerville, MA 02143
United States
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Luke MacQueen
 (857) 928-2659
Business Contact
 Luke MacQueen
Phone: (857) 928-2659
Research Institution

The broader impact of this Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II project is the advancement of sustainable and ethically produced meat alternatives. Most people have tried or know someone who has tried plant-based meats. Opinions vary but most people acknowledge that meats made from animals are not accurately recreated using plants, especially for unprocessed whole cuts like chicken breasts and beef tenderloins. The question remains if plant-based meat can be more like animal meat in terms of texture, taste, and nutrition. One approach is to test if plant-based meats improved when they are combined with cultured animal cells. To address this hypothesis, this project will advance the technological understanding of realistic plant-based meats by developing methods to combine cultured animal cells with fibrous plant-based scaffolds. By finding out how many animal cells are needed to enhance plant-based meats, and what types of animal cells to add, this project will help define commercialization strategies for this emerging market._x000D_
This project will test methods for adding cultured animal cells to plant-based whole cut meats. Animal cells are expensive to produce, and the quantity of each cell type needed to improve plant-based meats is not known. For example, what is the number of muscle cells, fat cells, or skin cells needed to make a plant-based chicken breast taste better? What are the best ways to add cells? How do different cell types like muscle, fat, or skin get placed in the right spots? What other plant-derived additives can enhance the flavor that cultured cells may provide? These questions can be answered by making plant-based meats with real meat texture and testing different methods of incorporating animal cells into them. Food-grade plant protein fibers that are the same size as animal skeletal muscle fibers will be packed together like muscle tissue to replicate the structure and texture of conventional meat. Animal cells will then be added to enhance the taste, aroma, and nutrition. This project will focus on developing methods to add animal cells to plant-based pork, chicken, and beef._x000D_
This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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