Small-scale bioreactor helps create cultivated meat

Tuesday, 26 September, 2023 | Supplied by: Getinge Australia Pty Ltd

Small-scale bioreactor helps create cultivated meat

Life science equipment supplier Getinge understands the importance of ongoing investment in technologies and novel approaches. Consequently, the company embraced the opportunity to support innovative food company Magic Valley, whose scientists have utilised an Applikon bioreactor in the process of creating cultivated meat that is completely free from animal by-products.

Magic Valley is an Australian company cultivating real meat products grown from a living animal. After taking a skin biopsy from the animal, the skin cells are taken to the company’s Melbourne lab, where they are cultured in media that is free of foetal bovine serum and reprogrammed into induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells.

iPS cells can grow in an unlimited and scalable way, multiplying quickly and at a substantial volume — more so than other cell types, so no further skin scrapings need to be taken. The cells can be made into muscle and fat — the main components of meat — and the Magic Valley team can even enhance the nutritional profile of their meat.

Eric Honroth, President of Life Science at Getinge, visited Magic Valley’s Melbourne facility in August to observe the Applikon bioreactor in action, as well as to sample one of the company’s cultivated pork dumplings. The Applikon MiniBio with my-Control was used by Magic Valley to help develop process and optimisation of the initial stages during the expansion of the iPS cells.

The Applikon MiniBio is a true scale-down of the classic laboratory-scale bioreactor. It has the same flexibility as other models, which means that it can be customised to fit the demands of any process. The small volume reduces media costs and maximises usage of bench space.

The my-Control controller is suitable for small-scale cultivations as it requires less bench space than other controllers. The advanced system can control single- and multi-use bioreactors from 50 mL (working volume) up to a total volume of 3 L for both cell culture and microbial cultures.

Dr Vijay Kumar, Senior Bioprocess Engineer at Magic Valley, said he appreciated the fact that the Applikon MiniBio comes in both single-use and multi-use formats, as well as the customisable aspect.

“I think those are two particularly attractive aspects of the vessel we’re currently using, but also its user friendliness,” Kumar said. “It’s very easy to set up and is basically plug and play.

“So those would be the key things that make this one [bioreactor] particularly attractive, because we could just get pretty much anyone trained up in the lab to operate it almost overnight.”

Head of R&D Professor Andrew Laslett added, “It actually seems really simple to use in terms of the interface. The number of sensors that are available are quite good.”

Kartik Natarajan, MD Getinge Australia & New Zealand, concluded, “We see a huge opportunity in the laboratory space with our bioreactor products. A result of the pandemic has been an increase in research funding by the Australian and NZ governments with regard to vaccines and other diseases, so the demand for our products continues to increase. And that’s not to mention a whole range of other adjacent opportunities in labs, such as lab-grown meats.”

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