Muscle-derived fibro-adipogenic progenitor cells for production of cultured bovine adipose tissue

Cultured meat is an emergent technology with the potential for significant environmental and animal welfare benefits. Accurate mimicry of traditional meat requires fat tissue; a key contributor to both the flavour and texture of meat. Here, we show that fibro-adipogenic progenitor cells (FAPs) are present in bovine muscle, and are transcriptionally and immunophenotypically distinct from satellite cells. These two cell types can be purified from a single muscle sample using a simple fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS) strategy. FAPs demonstrate high levels of adipogenic potential, as measured by gene expression changes and lipid accumulation, and can be proliferated for a large number of population doublings, demonstrating their suitability for a scalable cultured meat production process. Crucially, FAPs reach a mature level of adipogenic differentiation in three-dimensional, edible hydrogels. The resultant tissue accurately mimics traditional beef fat in terms of lipid profile and taste, and FAPs thus represent a promising candidate cell type for the production of cultured fat.


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