The Israeli-based firm MeaTech has unveiled its new 3-D Printed, lab produced steak made from made from real fat and muscle cells.
Israeli-based MeaTech recently unveiled the world’s largest lab-grown steak. Weighing 3.67 ounces, the steak is made from real fat and muscle cells taken from tissue samples of a living cow and produces astatically pleasing grill marks when cooked.
Living bovine stem cells were added to the ‘bio-inks,’ along with stem cells, which were then placed in a 3D printer to produce the steak. The printed slab of ‘meat’ was then matured in an incubator, allowing the stems cells were differentiated into fat and muscle cells that develop into fat and muscle tissues.
‘MeaTech’s goal is developing a true replacement for conventional steak that maximizes cell-based content rather than non-meat ingredients,’ the company shared in a press release. ‘MeaTech intends to continue improving upon its bioprinting and cultivation technologies to produce cultivated meat that better mirrors the key characteristics of farm-raised, premium steak.’
Raising livestock to be slaughtered for meat accounts for nearly 15 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, making the process a huge contributor to climate change. Methane produced by cows is said to be 28 times more potent than carbon dioxide in warming the atmosphere. And these are the reasons why MeaTech is working to perfect its 3D-printed steak.
The company’s process starts by isolating bovine stem cells and multiplying those cells. This allows them to transform the cells into bio-inks, which are loaded into MeaTech’s 3D bioprinter that is capable of digitally 3D-printing the cell inks. The final product comes out as stem cells, but then mature to differentiate into muscle and fat cells that then give rise to muscle and fat tissue.
‘Each step of the cultivated steak process was developed and optimized in-house, from unique and functional bio-ink formulation to proprietary cell differentiation protocols of the stem cells to patented printing techniques,’ MeaTech shared in the release. And the firm says the steak ‘looks, tastes, smells and feels just like the farmed variety.’
Lab-grown meat is gaining traction into the food industry and in August, scientists revealed the world’s first 3D-printed Wagyu beef has been revealed by scientists, who say it has marbling ‘just like the real thing’ and is grown from stem cells in the lab.
Most ‘cultured’ meat produced so far has come out like mince rather than steak, composed of simple muscle fibers rather than more complex structures. However, steaks – particularly from delicate Waygu beef – contain fat, muscle and blood vessels in an intricate structure producing a marbling effect, and this is what the team from Osaka University was able to replicate using 3D printing techniques. ‘This work may help usher in a more sustainable future with widely available cultured meat,’ that is closer to existing products, says study author Dong-Hee Kang.
The team gave no indication on eventual cost of producing the steaks or how long it would take for the product to reach the market.