Real steak, sans the cow.
Though plant-based meat is rising in popular and sustainability, that hasn’t stopped the steak enthusiasts of the world from trying to create the genuine article from nothing. An Israeli start-up company, Aleph Farms, may have finally succeeded in this endeavor, and to add to the coolness factor, they did it… in space.
Researchers in the International Space Station, working on Aleph Farms’ behalf, were able to create a bona-fide, 100% beef steak without any cows whatsoever. All they needed were a few cow cells, which are placed in an incubator and fed nutrients and water. In the right conditions, the cells were stimulated to produce muscle growth and regeneration, eventually growing into a steak-sized slab of beef. It’s actually not unlike raising regular cattle if you think about it, just without the moral quandaries.
The ISS researchers were able to assemble a steak using a 3D bioprinter and their raised cow cells. The only problem with this process is that nutrients and water aren’t exactly plentiful in the void of space, so a single steak is all they could realistically manage. If this process were performed on Earth, however, there would be more than enough resources to create tons of meat for mass consumption. Not to mention, if they could refine the process to be more efficient in space, it’d be a great source of protein for astronauts.
Aleph’s meat isn’t ready for a public run just yet, but they’re hoping to have a commercially viable product in the next three or four years.