Japanese researchers are developing 3D printed Wagyu steak

On a glass small bowl there's a small piece of pink meat
Osaka University professor Michiya Matsusaki holds a petri dish with cultured Wagyu beef, Japan, photo: Reuters/Akira Tomoshige

Japanese scientists say they have succeeded in creating lab-grown Wagyu beef using 3-D bioprinters. Osaka University researchers used bovine stem cells to replicate a Wagyu steak.

Wagyu beef is made from a Japanese breed of cow and contains a high percentage of saturated fat.

“We first printed muscle, fat, and blood vessels into a fibre form. By using the histological [microscopic study of animal cell] structure of the meat as a blueprint and looking at that to reconstruct them, we thought we would be able to create a meat structure,” Michiya Matsusaki, who led the study, told Reuters.

At the moment, it takes about three to four weeks to make a cubic centimetre of Wagyu cultured meat, so it’s not yet ready for supermarkets or restaurants.

But as the efficiency and techniques improve, the method could produce something that imitates the real thing, Matsusaki said.

“If we are able to quickly produce a lot of meat from a few cells, there’s a chance we can better respond to food and protein shortage issues in the future,” Matsusaki said, adding that it would be marketable for the general public within five years.

Environmental and animal welfare concerns around the farming industry have driven interest in alternatives for animal meat.

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