AUG 31, 2021 8:21 AM PDT

Researchers 3D Print Japanese-Style Beef Steaks

WRITTEN BY: Carmen Leitch

Agriculture, especially the production of meat, can put tremendous pressure on the environment and is thought to be a major contributor to climate change. Red meat may also have detrimental health effects. These are just a couple of reasons why some people have reduced their meat intake. To help meet the demand for meat alternatives, there has been a proliferation of imitation and synthetic meat products in recent years. Many of the popular products that are on the market right now are made up of vegetarian versions of meat ingredients, like heme protein. Until now, alternative meat products that have been created from cells, usually grown in labs, were mostly made up of muscles fibers that don't faithfully mimic the texture or structure of beef because they don't coalesce well.

Scheme of structured Wagyu beef meat / Credit: Osaka University

But researchers at Osaka University have now found a way to use stem cells from Wagyu cows to 3D print marbled steaks. Wagyu means 'Japanese cow' and these animals are valued for their marbled meat. The beef steaks made from these animals are considered to have a unique flavor and texture in part because of the high intramuscular fat content, which apparently gives the meat a buttery taste. The 3D printed steaks contain muscle, fat, and blood vessels, giving it a conventional look. The work has been reported in Nature Communications.

“Using the histological structure of Wagyu beef as a blueprint, we have developed a 3D-printing method that can produce tailor-made complex structures, like muscle fibers, fat, and blood vessels,” explained lead study author Dong-Hee Kang.

Non-synthetic wagyu meat on a grill / Image credit: Max Pixel

The work began with two different kinds of stem cells: adipose-derived stem cells and bovine satellite cells. These cells can specialize into any type of they the researchers would need to generate synthetic meat. Using that specialization and bioprinting, the cells were used to produce fibers of muscle or fat, or blood vessels. Next, the scientists used the histological structure of the natural beef as a model to reproduce it synthetically from the fibers. Finally, the resulting 'Wagyu beef' was sliced.

By refining this process, the complex structure of the meat can not only be reproduced but it can be customized, noted senior author Michiya Matsusaki. The cultured meat could also be made with specific amounts of fat based on the needs of customers.

Sources: Osaka University, Nature Communications

About the Author
  • Experienced research scientist and technical expert with authorships on over 30 peer-reviewed publications, traveler to over 70 countries, published photographer and internationally-exhibited painter, volunteer trained in disaster-response, CPR and DV counseling.
You May Also Like
SEP 09, 2021
Cell & Molecular Biology
Nematode Worms Can Pass Memories On to Others
SEP 09, 2021
Nematode Worms Can Pass Memories On to Others
If an individual can warn their group about danger they might be able to overcome it. It seems that even a nematode worm ...
SEP 22, 2021
Cardiology
Towards a Gene Therapy for Heart Regeneration
SEP 22, 2021
Towards a Gene Therapy for Heart Regeneration
For years, researchers at the Texas Heart Institute have been investigating the natural biochemical processes related to ...
SEP 21, 2021
Genetics & Genomics
Skin Condition Linked to Sex Hormone Gene
SEP 21, 2021
Skin Condition Linked to Sex Hormone Gene
Eczema is a chronic, dry skin condition that affects millions of people. A form of the disorder called atopic dermatitis ...
OCT 01, 2021
Genetics & Genomics
Making the Most of Your NGS Data: Understanding Metrics for Target-enriched NGS
OCT 01, 2021
Making the Most of Your NGS Data: Understanding Metrics for Target-enriched NGS
Introduction Targeted next-generation sequencing (NGS) is often performed using hybridization-based target enrichment, w ...
SEP 24, 2021
Drug Discovery & Development
Nasal Drugs Show Promise for Slowing Parkinson's Disease
SEP 24, 2021
Nasal Drugs Show Promise for Slowing Parkinson's Disease
Two drugs delivered via the nose have shown promise for improving symptoms of Parkinson's disease in mice. The corre ...
OCT 05, 2021
Genetics & Genomics
Genetic Mutations May Not be Related to the Aging Process
OCT 05, 2021
Genetic Mutations May Not be Related to the Aging Process
As our body ages, cells have to divide to replenish those that become worn out or damaged. Most cells also carry the gen ...
Loading Comments...