Most people know that in living animals, blood is delivered through the body using a cardiovascular system. The blood is water based and carries nutrients, oxygen, hormones, proteins etc. These need to be delivered close to the tissue cells.
In this way, the cells can extract what they need. The cells also produce waste, which is given back into the blood. Some constituents of blood are never actually used directly by the cells, like red blood cells (RBC). These still have a vital function in the blood and will only last for about 120 days. After which, they need to be recycled. The iron contained in the old RBCs can largely be re-used in the newly created ones.
Blood is better
At present, most effort in meat manufacturing is done using fetal bovine serum (FBS). This serum has all the nutrients and growth-factors of fetal blood and is ideal for growing (bovine) muscle cells. However, it is expensive and extracted from farmed animals. It is often used only once in an incubator where cells and serum come together. Some disadvantages of this method are that the final meat has no veins (structure) and that the serum tastes different from real blood. Some of the serum will stay in the cells after harvesting the meat.
Blood needs to be recycled and cleaned. Fresh nutrients and other materials need to be added. Recycling the blood, as is done in a living animal, is cheaper and tastes better. If meat could be produced using a cardiovascular system, the structure of the meat would be much improved too. We think that this will be the way meat will be manufactured in future. This recycling can probably best be done on the site of the meat production.
For this reason, we think the the industry is helped a lot by focusing some research in this area. The underlying idea is to use stem cells from bone marrow to produce red blood cells. We are also interested in researching the minimal blood constituents necessary for meat manufacturing.
The first goal of this startup is to make a long-living artificial cardiovascular system work. Including a refresh cycle, with the minimal constituents in the blood. We think this can be done in the next year.
Our initial products will be all components of this system, which should all be of interest to meat manufacturers: the initial blood, growth factors, the machinery and the knowledge.