Aleph Farms 3D prints cell-cultured meat in space for the first time

Dive Brief:

  • Israeli cell-based meat startup Aleph Farms mentioned it produced meat on the International Space Station, 248 miles away from any pure useful resource, for the first time. 
  • On Sept. 26, Aleph Farms labored with a Russian bioprinting firm to assemble “a small-scale muscle tissue in a 3D bioprinter developed by 3D Bioprinting Solutions, under micro-gravity conditions,” the firm mentioned in a launch.
  • The firm mentioned its profitable 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 famous in the launch that 10,000 to 15,000 liters of water aren’t accessible in space to provide one kilogram of beef. 

Dive Insight:

While this can be a inventive technique to indicate Aleph is continuous to make progress in growing cell-cultured meat, it is most likely extra priceless for the firm to indicate that meat sourced from animal cells could be manufactured utilizing a 3D bioprinter in an excessive surroundings. As sustainability turns into extra essential to shoppers, corporations growing cell-cultured meat want to exhibit their small environmental footprint. 

In the launch saying the information, Aleph cited a report revealed final month by the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change emphasizing how typical animal farming strategies contribute to local weather change. This milestone in space showcases to shoppers how few assets are wanted for lab-grown meat. While producing lab-grown meat on a industrial scale on Earth, not to mention in any significant amount in space, seems to be a methods off, client curiosity may spur sooner growth of the expertise, assuming customers are prepared to pay for it.

This kind of experimental method may very well be utilized to different space-bound initiatives or probably different excessive environments equivalent to the Arctic the place typical animal agriculture does not work as properly. The timing for this space experiment additionally coincides with this yr’s 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon touchdown.

According to AgFunder News, the quantity of “space steak” Aleph produced was solely about 1.5 millimeters lengthy — or about .06 of an inch. Just final December, the firm introduced it made the first cell-grown minute steak that delivers “the full experience of meat with the appearance, shape and texture of beef cuts.” CEO Didier Toubia mentioned at the time its preliminary merchandise are nonetheless comparatively skinny, however the firm’s expertise “marks a true breakthrough and a great leap forward in producing a cell-grown steak.”

Aleph has generated sufficient optimism since its 2017 founding to lift greater than $14 million from enterprise capitalists, Forbes reported. That funding has allowed the firm to experiment with its expertise, nevertheless it is not the solely enterprise hoping to place cell-cultured meat on the market. 

Other cell-based corporations are racing to be first to market with reasonably priced beef, henfish or crustacean merchandise. Memphis Meats is engaged on lab-cultured meat and poultry — in which each Tyson Foods and Cargill have invested — whereas Finless Foods is producing algae-based shrimp utilizing genetically engineered algae. Just is working to develop lab-grown hen and has partnered with Japanese meat producer Toriyama to produce lab-grown wagyu beef.

Aleph will seemingly want to lift considerably extra money to fund its cell-cultured manufacturing on Earth. And whereas the firm is one in every of the high world cell-based meat companies, it is not prone to launch any retail merchandise for not less than a number of extra years. Global cell-based meat corporations noticed a flurry of funding exercise final yr, with 12 companies elevating $50 million in 14 offers. This offers proof that there’s confidence in its promise for fulfilling future protein calls for with a extra sustainable profile than typical animal-based agriculture regardless that it’s nonetheless a number of years away from fruition. 

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