Bioscaffolds enable a full organoleptic experience and provide a gustatory delight as well as additional nutritional benefits and enable scaffolding / texturing for the meaty chewing sensation to enable cellular agriculture and alternative proteins to be a true epicurean sensation.
Scaffolds which mimic extracellular matrix are either designed to breakdown as cells grow on them so that the cells can replace the scaffolds with their own material (extracellular matrix) or designed to remain integrated into final product.
Other decellularized scaffolds many which are plant based include spinach, celery, artichoke, mushrooms, jackfruit to other nanostructures from bacterially producing collagen, cellulose, carrageenan, zein (a corn protein), maize, silk alginate (seaweed). Decellularization removes cells by using chemicals or enzymes while retaining the original ECM structure. Plant-based scaffolds offer high biocompatibility and low immunogenicity (as these materials are already eaten as food).
Biopolymers such as collagen, which is a structural protein found in our cellular ECM, can also be produced in large scale in yeast or bacteria to form ECM-like scaffold. It offers low immunogenicity but poor mechanical properties, which can be circumvented by cross-linking to other biopolymers.
Other methods such as bioprinting fungal mycelium which can be cultured into prefabricated shapes are also being explored as ready to use scaffolds. These fungal scaffolds do not need decellularization and demonstrated to form structures by introducing different conditions (i.e., changing sugar source).
Recellularization of these structures can be achieved using Tide Motion perfusion at low flow rates (low shear stress) to prevent damage to the native structure. This accounts for the importance of the scaffold’s porosity – nutrients, gases, and waste must be able to flow towards the different sections of the scaffold and cells. For iPSC and MSC recellularization, differentiation can be achieved through the use of additional growth factors/transcription factors for plant/fungal-based scaffolds as these do not contain cues for muscle cell differentiation. Recellularization can also be achieved through 3D bioprinting to make designing complex scaffold, hence other textured meats, possible.