Due to its high marble content, Wagyu beef (Japanese beef) is one of the most sought-after and expensive beef globally. Marbling, or Sashi in Japan, refers to the visible layers of muscle fat that give the beef its rich flavor and texture. Since most of the meat produced resembles a mince made of lighter muscle fibers than a complex beef structure, 3D Wagyu Printing is very difficult.
The researchers replicated this unique meat trait using a special process, and their findings could open the way for a much stronger future with widely available meat. According to a paper published in the journal Nature Communications, investigators used two types of particle cells, the satellite cells of cattle and adipose stem cells, linked to Wagyu cattle.
They then pushed and assembled the cells into different types of cells needed to produce each muscle fiber, fat, and blood vessel. These are piled up in a 3D stack to match the announcement of Wagyu.
Subsequently, researchers reversed the process recommended by those who produced Japanese Kintaro candy: an old-fashioned candy bar cut into pieces. Stacks were cut short to make pieces of beef-grown beef, which allowed for a greater degree of customization within the complex meat structure.
According to researchers, synthetic meat “looks like a real thing” and the process can be used to build more complex structures. “By improving this technology, it will be possible not only to produce complex meat structures, such as the excellent Wagyu beef Sashi but also to make subtle changes in the fat and tissue components,” says lead author Michiya Matsusaki.
The team did not say how much the steaks would cost to produce or how long it would take to deliver them to the market, but it sounds promising. The stock-based meat industry could cost $20 million by 2027, according to Markets and Markets. If such projects could disrupt food purchases, the 3D printing revolution would one day eliminate the need for beef cattle, opening up a new, sustainable way to enjoy meat in the future.
Written by: Anabat
Reported by: Imaaz Nadeem