Israeli biotech firm Meat-Tech 3D Ltd (MeaTech) has printed a uniform, thin, slaughter-free meat tissue produced from stem cells. The company describes the successful experiment as a technological breakthrough that significantly increases the feasibility of its patented technologies.
The research and development company is aiming to develop commercial technologies to manufacture alternative foods with no need for animal butchery, based on rapid growing cycles. To do so, Meat-Tech has developed a unique, proprietary bioprinter to deposit layers of cells (including stem cells and differentiated stem cells), scaffolding, and cell nutrients in a three-dimensional form of structured cultured meat, often called ‘clean meat’.
Its most important experiment to date transpired as part of the company’s multi-year work plan. The plan is to develop an industrial process, with integrated 3D digital printing technology, for growing and producing cuts of beef without harming animals.
Designated as ‘Project Carpaccio’, due to its similarity to the thinly-sliced meat delicacy, Meat-Tech applied its proprietary 3D printer for tissue construction, followed by a cell-growth process. Meat-Tech’s scientists succeeded in printing several cell types, which coalesced into a single fat and muscle tissue grown in Meat-Tech’s laboratory.
This feat has brought about the coalescence of a living tissue composed of several different bovine cells. The experimental results were analysed by a professional examiner and corroborated by the company’s audit committee.
This milestone demonstrates three significant process capabilities attained by Meat-Tech: Successful sorting of stem cells into fat and muscle cells, allowing the synthesis of muscle fibers and fat tissue; the formulation and production of bio-inks designed to print fat and muscle cells to ultimately form tissues; and the formation of printed tissue containing coalesced fat and muscle cells.
The experiment also demonstrated that Meat-Tech’s digital bioprinter has high efficacy in arranging cells in space as planned, with coalescence observed both between different cells and between cells and their environment, both of which are essential for tissue formation.
“Completing this significant milestone earlier than anticipated is a significant technological achievement for Meat-Tech, bringing it one step closer to developing technology to build slaughter-free meat-growing plants combined with printing technology, and demonstrating the company’s ability to print fat and muscle cells to build tissue,” commented Meat-Tech’s chairman, Steven H. Lavin.
This milestone is part of the company’s defined goals included in the merger with Ophectra Real Estate and Investments Ltd, which it completed in January 2020. This achievement triggers the vesting of half of the options granted to Meat-Tech’s shareholders as part of the merger transaction.