Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Mechanical Engineering

First Advisor

Rachael Floreani


While livestock farming of animals on an industrial scale feeds billions globally, its growth is creating an industry that propagates the inhumane treatment of animals while accelerating the adverse effects of climate change. New areas of food technology are emerging to improve certain aspects of our current food system. One such technology is cultivated meat, which uses modern engineering and biotechnology to produce animal protein, e.g. muscle tissue, for human consumption using animal cells. One of the challenges for cultivated meat is accurately portraying the cell’s extracellular matrix (ECM), a complex 3D fibrous mesh of collagen embedded in a gel-like material. Biomaterials that are engineered to recreate the ECM are called scaffolds, which is also the main focus of this dissertation. Here, the primary biomaterial used as a base for cultivated meat scaffolds is alginate, an animal-free material derived from the Phaeophyceae class of brown seaweed. However, due to alginate’s inherent inability to provide a mechanism for cell attachment i.e. lack of cytoaffinity, the base biomaterial has been modified in a number of ways to enhance overall functionality. Through extensive chemical, physical and mechanical characterization of the alginate-based scaffolds, similarities between native animal muscle tissue were observed. Furthermore, biological characterizations of murine and bovine skeletal muscle cells demonstrate the potential of these novel scaffolds to facilitate the development of structured cultivated meat products. These scaffolds not only promote cell attachment for muscle cells but also meet essential criteria for edibility and food safety. Importantly, they can be synthesized through cost-effective, animal-free methods, addressing both ethical and environmental concerns associated with traditional livestock farming.



Number of Pages

174 p.

Available for download on Friday, April 03, 2026