Boston College research has shown that the veiny skeleton of a spinach leaf can support the growth of artificial meat. As synthetic meat is growth from a culture of animal cells using tissue engineering techniques to mimic the structure and quality of regular meat, a key part of the process is developing a ‘scaffold’ for the cells to organise into larger structures.
The ideal scaffold is porous, edible, inexpensive and encourages formation of structures imitating circulatory networks. Spinach seems to tick many of these boxes, which makes it out to be an inexpensive and environmentally-friendly option.
Eandt.theiet.org quoted Professor Glenn Gaudette, who led the Boston College study, as saying: “Cellular agriculture has the potential to produce meat that replicates the structure of traditionally grown meat while minimising the land and water requirements. “We demonstrate that decellularizing spinach leaves can be used as an edible scaffold to grow bovine muscle cells as they develop into meat.”
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