A little over two years after Israel-based start-up Aleph Farms unveiled the world’s first lab-grown steak, the company has now revealed a much more complex, thick-cut rib-eye steak. Cultivated using a novel 3D bioprinting technology, the company suggests it now has the ability to produce lab-grown iterations of any type of steak.
Lab-grown meat, also known as cultured meat or clean meat, has been rapidly evolving over the past few years. Across a decade scientists moved from producing a “soggy form of pork” in a laboratory to cultured chicken nuggets hitting Singapore market shelves in a world-first regulatory approval. One of the bigger challenges scientists face in creating slaughter-free meat products is replicating the numerous cuts of meat consumers are used to eating.
In 2018 Aleph Farms revealed the world’s first lab-grown steak imitating the cellular structures of a thin minute steak. Now, the company has revealed the creation of a more complex, thick rib-eye steak produced using a new 3D bioprinting technology.
“Unlike 3D printing technology, our 3D bioprinting technology is the printing of actual living cells that are then incubated to grow, differentiate, and interact, in order to acquire the texture and qualities of a real steak,” says Aleph Farms in a recent statement. “A proprietary system, similar to the vascularization that occurs naturally in tissues, enables the perfusion of nutrients across the thicker tissue and grants the steak with the similar shape and structure of its native form as found in livestock before and during cooking.”
Aleph Farms claims its 3D bioprinting technology offers the flexibility to produce any kind of cut of meat currently available. And, even more impressively, Aleph’s CEO Didier Toubier suggests the technology allows for cultured meat to be tailored to any highly specific preferences a consumer wishes, from adjusting fat content to controlling the structure of its connective tissues.
“With cows, the breed has a role, but the quality comes from the feed. With our cultivated meat it is similar,” Toubia said in a recent interview with The Washington Post. “We control the cultivation process, and we can design meat specifically for a market, adjusting the amount of collagen and connective tissues and fat, to tailor meat to specific requirements.”
The new 3D bioprinting technology was developed over the past two years with Aleph Farms’ research partner, the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology. Despite these rapid technological advances, lab-grown meat is still yet to reach the market shelves of most consumers. To date, Singapore is the only region in the world to approve a form of lab-grown meat for public sale.
Aleph Farms and the Mitsubishi Corporation’s Food Industry Group have joined forces in Japan to begin developing manufacturing and distribution facilities in preparation for future market approval.
Source: Aleph Farms