The First Cultivated Chicken In Ohio Is Made With Matrix F.T.’s Edible Microcarriers
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Ohio-based Matrix F.T., a leading developer of plant-based scaffolds and microcarriers for the alternative protein industry, says it has developed the first cultivated chicken made in Ohio.
The team at Matrix F.T. says it has created a proof of concept cultivated chicken nugget to showcase its technology — edible microcarriers and scaffolds that function as key ingredients in cultivated meat products that look, cook, and taste like conventional.
Currently, the most common types of microcarriers used to provide a scaffold for cells are inedible and must be removed from cultivated meat before consumption. A number of companies and researchers are working to develop edible microcarriers. Last summer, UCLA researchers announced they had created an edible particle that produces a more natural muscle-like texture for cultivated meat. The researchers say they’re using a process that could be scaled up for mass production.
Ohio’s first cultivated nugget
Matrix F.T.’s headquarters include engineering labs and biological testing facilities where cell culture experiments are conducted to test performance, food safety, and sterility on its scaffolds and microcarriers. The company also conducts contracted research in its wet lab for cultivated meat companies.
Microcarriers work by growing and proliferating cells in bioreactors. Scaffolding helps to mature and differentiate cells, signal gene and protein expressions, and turn cells into complex tissue structures, which become cultivated meat. It works with 3D extracellular matrices for cell growth and proliferation.
The company says its first chicken myoblasts — muscle cells — came from a University partner. The cells were cultivated by Heidi Coia, PhD., the Director of Product Development and Innovation at Matrix F.T. The harvested cells were combined with a proprietary mixture of plant-based proteins to create the hybrid chicken nugget.
“It had a great flavor, texture, and we were delighted to give a small example of how our customizable products can contribute to each of our customers’ unique cell-based foods that they are going to take to market,” Coia said.
Plant-based scaffolds and microcarriers
Matrix F.T. opened its new wet lab last April, aiming to expand its work in growing cultivated protein made with edible, plant-based nanofiber scaffolds and microcarriers.
The company said the new facility is instrumental in shortening the gap between engineering custom plant-based, nanofiber scaffolds and quickly delivering a final product for cultivated meat companies’ go-to-market timelines.
“Before opening the wet lab, Matrix F.T. relied heavily on customer feedback to learn if the scaffolds we custom-engineered for their applications were working,” Teryn Wolfe, Matrix F.T.’s CEO said in a statement. “Now that we can provide partners with a more robust suite of R&D offerings, we’re able to have greater control and deliver results at the speed needed to help our customers scale. This is another important step in our ability to fuel innovation across the board, and we’re proud to continue to lead in the cultivated protein space, right here from Ohio.”
The new nugget launch is the latest in the quickly crowding cultivated chicken category. Late last year, California-based Upside Foods was the first U.S. company to receive the FDA’s GRAS status for its cultivated chicken. The company says it can produce 400,000 pounds of cultivated meat per year at its factory.