Israeli food technology startup, Aleph Farms, have managed to grow bovine meat aboard the International Space Station.
The used cow cells which were first harvested on Earth before being transported to the Russian section of the space station. The cells were then grown into small-scale muscle tissue using a 3D bioprinter developed by 3D Bioprinting Solutions.
Bioprinting is the process in which materials like animal cells are mixed with growth factors, which are naturally occurring substances capable of cellular growth, and a material called Bio-ink to ‘Print’ the cells into a layered structure. Bio-ink’s are substances made of living cells that can be used for the 3D printing of complex tissues.
In this case, the resulting structure was an edible piece of bovine muscle tissue or as most of us know it, a steak. The team of researchers were able to achieve this by simulating a cow’s natural muscle-tissue regeneration process.
This experiment took place on the Space Station because Aleph Farms and 3D Bioprinting Solutions wanted to test the advancement of lab grown meat that could be used for extended space flights. These could then be used on possible future journeys to Mars. This solution could also be used to give everyone on Earth unlimited access to safe and nutritious meat, while using minimal resources to produce it.
“In space, we don’t have 10,000 or 15,000 Liters of water available to produce one kg of beef” said Didier Toubia, Co-Founder and CEO of Aleph Farms. “This joint experiment marks a significant first step toward in achieving our vision to ensure food security for generations to come, while preserving our natural resources.”