Where's the Beef? Cultivated in Space, Apparently

Aleph Farms succesfully produces cell-grown meat in space

Astronauts aboard NASA's International Space Station (ISS) made history after successfully growing meat in space for the first time.

In December, Aleph Farms announced it had produced a prototype "strip" of steak grown from cells in the lab in two weeks, although it admitted the taste needed to be improved.

To grow the meat from cow cells, scientists mimicked the natural process of muscle cell regeneration occurring inside a cow's body.

The experiment was led by Israeli startup Aleph Farms with assist from Russian biotech firm 3D Bioprinting Options and US -based Meal Supply Applied sciences and Finless Meals. However, Aleph's Yoav Reisler told Space.com that the company planned to build on the experiment and make synthetic beef steaks available on terra firma using large-scale "bio-farms".

3D Bioprinting Solutions said in a statement that along with its partners, it has laid "the groundwork for renewable protein sources" for long-term crewed missions. Bioprinting is a process in which biomaterials, like animal cells, are mixed with growth factors and the material "bioink", and "printed" into a layered structure. The tissue is very small (just 1.5 millimeters across), but this marks an important proof of concept, showing that the futuristic meat can also be grown in space. Credit: 3D Bioprinting Solutions. "Maturing of bioprinted organs and tissues in zero gravity proceeds much faster than in Earth gravity conditions".

However, there are other, more far-reaching goals of creating a sustainable food future for the growing world population. On Earth, the cells always fall downward.

It required the use of a special gadget known as a 3D bioprinter, which sticks together live cells to create something resembling real tissue.

Aleph Farms, founded in 2017, is one of those climate change-fighting startups spearheading the trendy business of fake meat.

As incomes rise, people will increasingly consume more resource-intensive, animal-based foods, while there is an urgent call to cut greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from agricultural production.

"In space, we do not have 10,000 or 15,000 litres of water available to produce one kilogram of beef", said Didier Toubia, Co-Founder and CEO of Aleph Farms.

"This joint experiment marks a significant first step toward achieving our vision to ensure food security for generations to come, while preserving our natural resources".

Lab-grown meat has been touted as one potential way to help mitigate the environmental impact of the animal farming industry as demand for meat rises around the world.

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