An international collaboration between 3D Bioprinting Solutions in Russia, Israeli-based Aleph Farms, and U.S.-based Meal Source Technology and Finless Foods has successfully produced cell-based meat aboard the International Space Station—248 miles away from any natural resources. Aleph Farms, which creates steaks from animal cells, was able to assemble a small-scale bit of muscle tissue in a 3D bioprinter, developed by 3D Bioprinting Solutions, under microgravity conditions, proving its concept that meat can be created in a lab in even the most extreme of environments.
“In space, we don’t have 10,000 or 15,000 L [approximately 3,963 gal] of water available to produce one kg [2.2 lb] of beef,” said Didier Toubia, co-founder and CEO of Aleph Farms. “This joint experiment marks a significant first step toward achieving our vision to ensure food security for generations to come, while preserving our natural resources. This keystone of human achievement in space follows Yuri Gagarin’s success of becoming the first man to journey into outer space, and Neil Armstrong’s 50th anniversary this year, celebrating the moment when the first man walked on [the moon].”
While the proof of concept in space was successful, it will likely take at least three years before consumers on Earth will be able to buy Aleph Farms’ cell-based meat. “The mission of providing access to high-quality nutrition anytime, anywhere in a sustainable way is an increasing challenge for all humans,” said Jonathan Berger, CEO of The Kitchen accelerator that co-founded Aleph.
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