Alternative protein glossary

Discover the essential terms and concepts related to cultivated meat and alternative proteins with my comprehensive glossary.

Term/concept Definition
Actin A protein that forms filaments and works together with myosin to enable muscle contraction and various cellular processes.
Adipocytes Fat cells present within muscle tissue.
Aggregates Clusters or groupings of cells that have come together to form three-dimensional structures.
Amino acid Organic compounds that serve as the basic building blocks of proteins, consisting of an amino group, a carboxyl group, and a side chain.
Bioprinting A technique that involves the precise deposition of living cells, biomaterials and growth factors in a layer-by-layer manner to create complex three-dimensional structures, mimicking the architecture of biological tissues.
Biopsy The medical procedure of extracting a sample of tissue or cells from the body for diagnostic or research purposes. Two biopsy methods have been suggested for the harvesting of muscle tissue to be used for cultivated meat: needle biopsy and incision biopsy.
Bioreactors Large tanks that provide controlled environments for the growth and cultivation of living cells, essential for proliferation and differentiation.
Cell culture media Nutrient-rich broth containing oxygen, amino acids, glucose, vitamins, proteins, growth factors and other ingredients that feed the cultivated animal cells.
Cell density The concentration or number of cells within a given volume or area, indicating how closely packed the cells are in a culture or tissue sample.
Cell isolation The process of extracting specific cells, such as satellite cells, from biopsies and purifying them for cultivation.
Cell seeding The gradual introduction of animal stem cells into the bioreactor to ensure successful adaptation and growth.
Centrifugation A process that involves spinning a mixture at high speeds to separate components based on their density.
Cultivated meat Real meat produced through a cellular process that mirrors the natural growth of animal tissue without the need to grow and slaughter an entire animal.
Differentiation The process of transforming stem cells, such as satellite cells, into specialised cell types, like muscle cells, by adjusting culture conditions.
Electrospinning A technique used to create ultrafine fibres by applying an electric field to a solution, which has been used to create scaffolds for cultivated meat.
Exponential A rapid and consistent growth pattern where the quantity or magnitude of something increases at an accelerating rate over time.
Foetus (or fetus) The developmental stage of an unborn mammal after it transitions from the embryo stage.
Hybrid products Food items that incorporate a combination of ingredients from the different alternative protein industries (cultivated, plant-based, fermented), resulting in innovative and blended culinary creations.
Maturation The phase in cultivated meat production where the cells further differentiate and organise, resulting in tissue thickening and alignment, ultimately refining the sensory attributes of the final product.
Microcarrier A small particle or substrate that provides a surface for the attachment and growth of cells, typically used in bioreactor systems for the production of cultivated meat.
Myosin A protein found in muscle fibres that plays a central role in muscle contraction and movement.
Peptide A short chain of amino acids joined together by peptide bonds, serving as a building block for proteins.
Preplating A technique in cell culture that involves allowing cells to adhere and proliferate on a culture dish before transferring them to a new culture vessel.
Proliferation The process of rapid and unrestricted multiplication or growth of cells.
Protease An enzyme that breaks down proteins into smaller peptides, facilitating the separation of desired cell types. Useful in the isolation of satellite cells from tissue biopsies.
Satellite cells Located on the periphery of muscle fibres, satellite cells are a type of adult stem cell that play a key role in muscle regeneration and growth. They are commonly used in the production of cultivated meat due to their ability to differentiate into various cells that make up the muscle tissue.
Scaffold A temporary or permanent support structure or framework that provides mechanical support and guidance for the growth and organisation of cells into functional tissues.
Serum-free media Cell culture media that does not contain animal-derived serum, providing a defined and controlled environment for the growth and maintenance of cells in vitro.
Skeletal muscle The type of muscle tissue that is attached to the skeleton and responsible for voluntary movement of the body.
Stem cell Cells with the unique ability to self-renew and differentiate into specific cell types. In vivo, stem cells play a critical role in the growth, development and repair of tissues. They can be classified into two main types: embryonic stem cells, which are derived from embryos, and adult stem cells, which are found in various tissues and organs of the body. In the context of cultivated meat, stem cells provide a consistent and controlled starting material that can be multiplied and directed to differentiate into specific cell types that make up meat.
Ultra-processed food Commercially produced food products that often contain numerous additives, preservatives and artificial ingredients, undergoing extensive industrial processing and typically lacking in nutritional value.