Cell-cultured meat offers the potential for a more sustainable, ethical, resilient, and healthy food system. However, research and development has been hindered by the lack of suitable serum-free media that enable the robust expansion of relevant cells (e.g., muscle satellite cells) over multiple passages. Recently, a low-cost serum-free media (B8) was described for induced pluripotent stem cells. Here, we adapt this media for bovine satellite cells and show that the addition of a single component, recombinant albumin, renders B8 suitable for the long-term expansion of cells without sacrificing myogenicity. We show that this new media (Beefy-9) maintains robust cell growth over the entire culture period tested (seven passages) with an average growth rate of 39 hours per population doubling). Along with demonstrated efficacy for bovine cells, this work provides a promising starting-point for developing serum-free media for cultures from other meat-relevant species. Ultimately, this work offers a promising foundation for escaping the reliance on serum in cultured meat research, thereby accelerating the field.

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Global Food Security & Sustainability Virtual Summit 2021