Japanese scientists 3D printed rack of wagyu beef
Last week we were introduced to SquarEat, a meal delivery start-up that positioned its ability to compact food into small, color-coded cubes as revolutionary. While we’re still quite baffled by the prospect of replacing traditional meal times with regular eating dates, the possibility of real breakthroughs in food science can still be exciting. For example: Scientists at the Japanese University of Osaka have now figured out how to 3D print wagyu beef.
Their work is described in an article of Vice however, the team’s findings “could provide a more sustainable alternative to the sought-after steak and other meat products” by allowing for the preparation of meat that does not require as many farms or as many livestock.
Led by Professor Michiya Matsusaki, Osaka University researchers used satellite cells (linked to muscle growth) and fat stem cells from cow cheeks in combination with “artificial collagen tendon tissue” to ” bio-print ”in 3D the beef. These components are put together into “wagyu beef fiber rolls” and dyed red in a process that allows scientists to choose how lean or fat their steak is. (This part is compared to building Lego, although it certainly looks different from how we built plastic houses when we were kids.)
It’s exciting but costly work and still inedible “although Matsusaki has stated that a table-ready version of beef will be made by the end of the year.” There are also doubts as to whether this laboratorycultivated wagyu would be able to increase production in order to replace the real thing. Still, Matsusaki believes that customers will be able to purchase “small amounts” of the 3D-printed foods by 2025.
Given the environmental benefits associated with reducing the impact of the meat industry on the planet, we hope this is just a sign of things to come. As long as the beef of the future isn’t delivered in nutritious little rings sold by wide-eyed start-ups, it is.
Learn more about the process more than Vice.
Send great work, internet tips to [email protected]