Comparison of Soy and Pea Protein for Cultured Meat Scaffolds: Evaluating Gelation, Physical Properties, and Cell Adhesion

Do Hyun Kim1,, Seo Gu Han1,, Su Jin Lim1, Seong Joon Hong1, Hyuk Cheol Kwon1, Hyun Su Jung1, Sung Gu Han1,*
Author Information & Copyright
1Department of Food Science and Biotechnology of Animal Resources, Konkuk University, Seoul 05029, Korea.

† These authors contributed equally to this work.

*Corresponding Author: Sung Gu Han. E-mail:

© Copyright 2024 Korean Society for Food Science of Animal Resources. This is an Open-Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Received: Feb 27, 2024 ; Revised: Apr 08, 2024 ; Accepted: Jun 10, 2024

Published Online: Jun 21, 2024


Cultured meat is under investigation as an environmentally sustainable substitute for conventional animal-derived meat. Employing a scaffolding technique is one approach to developing cultured meat products. The objective of this research was to compare soy and pea protein in the production of hydrogel scaffolds intended for cultured meat. We examined the gelation process, physical characteristics, and the ability of scaffolds to facilitate cell adhesion using mesenchymal stem cells derived from porcine adipose tissue (ADSCs). The combination of soy and pea proteins with agarose and agar powders was found to generate solid hydrogels with a porous structure. Soy protein-based scaffolds exhibited a higher water absorption rate, whereas scaffolds containing agarose had a higher compressive strength. Based on FT-IR analysis, the number of hydrophobic interactions increased between proteins and polysaccharides in the scaffolds containing pea proteins. All scaffolds were nontoxic toward ADSCs, and soy protein-based scaffolds displayed higher cell adhesion and proliferation properties. Overall, the soy protein-agarose scaffold was found to be optimal for cultured meat production.

Keywords: cultured meat; scaffold; stem cell; soy protein; pea protein