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Scientists at Japan's Osaka University have presented what they call the first-ever 3D-printed Wagyu beef. It is created using stem cells extracted from cattle.
Replicating the beef's marbled composition has been a key challenge. They solved this by isolating bovine satellite cells and adipose-derived stem cells from Wagyu cows. They then incubated and differentiated them into the cells needed to generate individual fibers for fat, muscle, and blood vessels and stacked them to resemble the marbling.
According to the article published in Nature Communications, "Engineered whole cut meat-like tissue by the assembly of cell fibers using tendon-gel integrated bioprinting," the stacks of meat were cut perpendicularly into laboratory-cultured beef slices. This enabled a high level of customization within the meat structure.
The researchers claim the 3D-printed meat "looks more like the real thing," adding that this process may be used to generate other complex structures.