Bread and Tissue Engineering have a lot in common

Did you know that the ancient art of bread making; artisan bread, is contributing to science in a big way?

Specifically, studying the use of bread as a biomaterial scaffold is helping innovate tissue engineering methods. To be quick, instead of making the bread using the basic ingredients of flour, water, salt, and yeast like the bread you see in the picture made by yours truly, the bread in a study titled “Homemade bread: Repurposing an ancient technology for in vitro tissue engineering” (source below) was made using sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) instead of yeast to prevent or at least minimize the introduction of unwanted contaminants to the scaffold.

Also, they used a very basic and quick method for bread making with a total time to make the test bread of only 1 hour compared to right at 18 hours (from autolyse to end-of-bake-time) for the yeast contained bread I recently made in the photo. The complexity required for the yeast bread is not needed in the test bread since only structure and compatibility are the goals of their study. Flavor, flakiness, color, and umami are not required factors. They cover this in greater detail but simply stated, what makes the basic structure of successfully finished bread ideal is it’s naturally porous. You can give a big thanks to protein chains (gluten), air pockets (pores) and lift/size, which are derived from carbon dioxide in the form of gas exchange (for yeast) or bicarbonate (a reaction of water and sodium bicarbonate) which yields water and carbon dioxide at room temperature (while proving) and even more during the bake.

“[Their] objective in this study was to demonstrate that mammalian cells could remain viable and proliferate in vitro within scaffolds made of porous bread crumb. [They demonstrated] that bread scaffolds remain intact over the course of up to four weeks in cell culture, can be modified to control their mechanical properties and that mammalian cells will proliferate and remain viable within the scaffolds.”

They found that the inherent porosity of bread, along with a simple production method (simple recipe) can be a potentially ideal biomaterial scaffolding platform used in tissue engineering. Understanding how this will translate to scaled industrial settings amongst other biomanufacturing processes will require more time.

If you have a ScienceDirect account you can read the entire study following the source below. #tissueengineering #science #biomanufacturing #bioprocessing #scienceandenvironment #microbiology #cellculture


Holmes, J. T., Jaberansari, Z., Collins, W., Latour, M. L., Modulevsky, D. J., & Pelling, A. E. (2021, November 19). Homemade bread: Repurposing an ancient technology for in vitro tissue engineering. Biomaterials. Retrieved January 9, 2022, from

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