Until now, an Israeli company has been able to create only small bits of “steak” by bioprinting it. Aleph Farms Ltd. In Rehovot has now announced that it has produced, for the first time in the world, a three-dimensional “ribeye steak” from living cells rather than by carving up a slaughtered cow.
In a strategy to build a diverse portfolio of cultivated meat cuts of any kind, the company’s proof-of-concept incorporates real muscle, fat, and a vascular-like system similar to a ribeye from a slaughtered cow.
With this proprietary technology developed just two short years after it unveiled the world’s first cultivated thin-cut steak in 2018 – which did not utilize 3D bioprinting – the company now has the ability to produce any type of steak and plans to expand its portfolio of quality meat products.
Unlike 3D printing technology, Aleph Farms’ 3D bioprinting technology is the printing of actual living cells that are then incubated to grow, differentiate and interact so as to acquire the texture and qualities of a real steak. A proprietary system, similar to the vascularization that occurs naturally in tissues, enables the perfusion of nutrients across the thicker tissue and grants the steak with the similar shape and structure of its native form as found in livestock before and during cooking.
“This breakthrough reflects an artistic expression of the scientific expertise of our team,” said Didier Toubia, co-Founder and CEO of Aleph Farms. “I am blessed to work with some of the greatest people in this industry. We recognize some consumers will crave thicker and fattier cuts of meat. This accomplishment represents our commitment to meeting our consumer’s unique preferences and taste buds, and we will continue to progressively diversify our offerings,” added Toubia.
“Additional meat designs will drive a larger impact in the mid and long term. This milestone for me marks a major leap in fulfilling our vision of leading a global food system transition toward a more sustainable, equitable, and secure world.”
Consuming steak that does not come from a slaughtered cow would greatly reduce greenhouse gases that endanger the environment, minimize animal suffered and release land for agriculture.
The cultivated ribeye steak is a thicker cut than the company’s first product – a thin-cut steak. It incorporates muscle and fat similar to its slaughtered counterpart and boasts the same organoleptic (aspects of food, water or other substances that create an individual experience via the senses—including taste, sight, smell, and touch) attributes of a delicious tender, juicy ribeye steak you’d buy from the butcher.
“With the realization of this milestone, we have broken the barriers to introducing new levels of variety into the cultivated meat cuts we can now produce. As we look into the future of 3D bioprinting, the opportunities are endless,” stated Prof. Shulamit Levenberg of the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa, who is also Aleph Farm’s co-founder, chief scientific advisor, and a major brainpower behind the company’s intellectual property. Levenberg – who is considered a global leader in tissue engineering – has amassed over two decades of research in the field at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the US and at the Technion, in Israel. Levenberg is also the former dean of the Technion’s Biomedical Engineering Faculty.
Aleph Farms’ plans to diversify its offering align with its mission to create a global platform for local production, leveraging a highly scalable technology to create culinary experiences that can be adapted for the different food cultures around the world.