• Researchers in Korea have discovered a way to improve the taste of cultivated meat, using a flavour-switchable scaffold that can release meaty flavour compounds at cooking temperatures to replicate the taste of conventional meat products.
Source: Yonsei University
    Researchers in Korea have discovered a way to improve the taste of cultivated meat, using a flavour-switchable scaffold that can release meaty flavour compounds at cooking temperatures to replicate the taste of conventional meat products. Source: Yonsei University
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Researchers in Korea have discovered a way to improve the taste of cultivated meat, using a flavour-switchable scaffold that can release meaty flavour compounds at cooking temperatures to replicate the taste of conventional meat products.

Cultured meat is an emerging food type that can provide sustainable animal protein, using scaffolds and 3D materials to develop products with similar shape and structural properties to traditional meats.

However, flavour is often overlooked in meat cultivation strategies, and a paper published in Nature Communications has investigated methods to remedy this issue.

Conducted by Milae Lee, Woojin Choi, and Jinkee Hong from Yonsei University in Seoul, Korea, the paper states that the flavour characteristics of meat can vary dramatically when cooked, depending on the amount and types of amino acids and sugars that produce volatile compounds through the Maillard reaction.

“By introducing a switchable flavour compound (SFC) into a gelatin-based hydrogel, we can fabricate a functional scaffold that enhances the aromatic properties of cultured meat,” the paper states.

The team designed a temperature-responsive scaffold where a switchable flavour compound is incorporated into a gelatin-based hydrogel. The scaffold remained stable during the cell culture period but released meaty flavour compounds when a cooking temperature of above 150°C was reached, replicating key chemical reactions of cooking conventional meat.

According to chemical analyses, and the use of an electric nose, the meat exhibited a flavour pattern similar to that of grilled beef. Although this study still makes use of gelatin, an animal based product, it opens up doors to more sustainable meat development with potential for investigating the feasibility of the SFC system without animal derived materials.

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