Steaks, the final frontier: Israeli startup 3D prints meat in space station

Federico Mansilla
Octubre 10, 2019

While people on Earth may be marching into a meatless future, astronauts exploring outer space still have to eat real animal protein, per NASA's nutrition recommendations.

Last month, a collaboration among four companies from Israel, Russia and the US produced the first ever "space beef steak" inside the International Space Station.

The team established a proof of concept on September 26 when the astronauts who were performing the test were able to produce a small piece of muscle tissue of cow on the ISS. the experiment was done inside a 3D bioprinter which was developed by the 3D Bioprinting Solutions.

Aleph Farms divides cells from live cows, grows them in an artificial nutrient environment in laboratory conditions, and then collects them in structures similar to ordinary meat.

Seemingly not satisfied with simply producing the world's first cell-grown minute steak, Israeli food-tech company Aleph Farms has announced the successful cultivation of meat aboard the International Space Station (ISS).

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Consumers eager to taste cultivated meat grown by the company - which secured a $12 million Series A investment round in May - and its competitors will need to remain patient.

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

"We are showing that we can produce food without the reliance on local land and water resources", Aleph Farms spokesperson Yoav Reisler told CNET. "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". Last December, it successfully produced a "strip steak" in a lab in just two weeks. "The experiment in space shows that meat can be cultivated in the harshest conditions, meaning anywhere, anytime and for anyone".

Lab-grown products are unlikely to hit the supermarket shelves for at least several years as companies develop cost-effective production methods and likely encounter regulatory barriers.

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