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Scientists at Yonsei University in Seoul, South Korea, have discovered that a gelatine-based hydrogel can help improve the flavour and aroma of cell-based meat.


One key component of the taste of cooked conventional meat is the Maillard reaction, named after French chemist Louis Camille Maillard who discovered that unique flavours are created in cooked food at between 140 and 165°C.


Jinkee Hong and his colleagues at Yonsei have established a method to simulate the Maillard reaction by adding ‘switchable flavour compounds’ (SFCs) into a 3D gelatine-based hydrogel – also known as a scaffold – that remains stable while the meat is cultured.


Once heated to 150°C, the chemicals ‘switch on’ and release flavours, improving the palatability of cultivated protein. Hong said that they “smelled the meaty flavour upon heating the SFCs".


In the paper published in the Nature journal, the scientists state that while previous versions of cell-based meat have recreated the appearance and texture of conventional meat, taste has so far been overlooked. “Flavor is the most important thing to make cultured meat be accepted as real,” lead author Milae Lee told CNN.


SFCs can also be used to create different flavour profiles. For example, the researchers tested three compounds and say they produced flavours simulating roasted meat, coffee, roasted nuts, onions and potatoes. “We can diversify and customise the flavour compounds released from the SFC,” Hong added.


One big issue is that the chemicals involved aren’t currently seen as safe for human consumption. “Because the materials and culture medium are not approved as edible materials, we cannot ensure the safety of it,” Hong says. “However, we think that our strategy can also be applied to conventional edible materials, which would be safer than the materials used in this study.”


#SouthKorea #YonseiUniversity #scaffold #gelatine

South Korean researchers develop gelatine-based scaffold for cell-based meat

Phoebe Fraser

10 July 2024

South Korean researchers develop gelatine-based scaffold for cell-based meat

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