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Industry Insights| Muscle Cells of Cattle Act as 3D Printable Materials

Lately, Aleph Farms, an Israel-based food start-up, has announced successfully 3D printed edible meat in space. They prove that edible nutrition anytime, anywhere in a sustainable way is workable. Yet some sources from China’s news media said it takes at least 3 to 10 years for the mass commercial production of those “cultivated meat”.

Figure 1. Steak
Cells from cattle were harvested back on earth and brought to the station where they were grown into meat using a special 3D printer. Astronaut scientists from Israeli and Russia then grew the beef right in the international space station. Their goal was to display how lab-grown meat can be cultivated in zero-gravity with minimal equipment. It strikes us that the “cultivated meat” is not made from plant protein but from muscle tissue generating from living cattle. Those cells of muscle tissue is then stimulated in the laboratory. The result meat can be named as cell-grown steak or clean meat. It avoids slaughtering animals and reliefs the moral dilemma of vegetarian.

Figure 2. Clean meat gives vegetarian nutrition without the mental burden of slaughtering
They made good use of a 3D bioprinter. They repeated the process of cultivating cattle cells and assembled them into meat in near zero-gravity space station.
The company said its successful experiment "serves as an essential growth indicator of sustainable food production methods that don't exacerbate land waste, water waste and pollution." Aleph Co-Founder and CEO Didier Toubia noted in their press release.

In December, 2018, the company has already produced the first cell-grown steak. It took 2 weeks for the steak to come out of cells tissue. Although lots of start-ups has vied for early release of cultivated meat product, Chinese media yet reserves their view and thinks it still needs time of up to 3 to 10 years to meet the needs of Chinese customers. The market size in China also depends on the economy of scale of this sector.