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Japanese scientists have developed the first 3D-printed Wagyu beef

By SAAB LARIOSA Published Sep 03, 2021 3:17 pm

Scientists from Japan’s Osaka University have discovered how to grow edible Wagyu beef in a lab through "3D bioprinting."

Unlike the 3D printing process that's become popular over the past years, the more advanced bioprinting involves a complex level of creation through the isolation of stem cell research.

The team started with two types of "multipotent" stem cells: bovine satellite cells and adipose-derived stem cells. Under the right laboratory conditions, these cells were then trained to develop into other cell needed to produce the cultured meat. Apart from its taste, Wagyu serves as a rarity because of its intricate marbling, or sashi.

For the experiment, the researchers studied and took samples from the histological structure of Wagyu beef as a blueprint. They then developed the advanced 3D printing method that "can produce tailor-made complex structures, like muscle fibers, fat, and blood vessels."

Once produced, the fibers were 3D printed and stacked to produce the structure and feel of the legitimate Wagyu meat, then sliced perpendicularly like the real thing.

Scheme of structured Wagyu beef meat by “3D printing kintaro-ame technology." Courtesy of Osaka University

Only the ever-popular Wagyu beef was made through 3D printing for now, but the team speculates that once more research is done, more complex meat structures can be replicated (and eaten) soon enough.

 “By improving this technology, it will be possible to not only reproduce complex meat structures, such as the beautiful sashi of Wagyu beef, but to also make subtle adjustments to the fat and muscle components,” shared lead researcher Michiya Matsusaki.

Banner photo from Wesual via Unsplash