Biotechnology

The world’s first 3D printed cell farmed fish is produced

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As biotech comes up with exciting new ways to grow food, Israel-based Steakholder Foods has created its first 3D printed fish filet.

This ready-to-cook filet, developed from laboratory-grown animal cells, was obtained from the startup’s 3D bioprinter and customized bio-ink.

Said to have the same taste and texture as traditionally caught fish, the invention is a collaboration between Steakholder Foods and Singapore-based Umami Meats. But in contrast to conventional methods of obtaining meat, it does not damage the environment, explains Arik Kaufman, CEO of Steakholder Foods.

“With an estimated size of $110 billion and projected growth of 3-4% annually in the near future, the seafood and fish market is a longstanding part of our vision to introduce sustainable solutions that increase food security. Having created a custom bio-ink that works effectively with Umami cells and optimizes taste and texture to meet high consumer standards, we anticipate expanding our collaboration to a wider variety of species with additional partners,” said Kaufman.

Technology

The company has formulated its own bio ink selected from cell lines and scaffolding materials. The bio ink is then loaded into the 3D printer, and within minutes, the entire piece of meat is printed. The meat is incubated for several weeks so that the stem cells can differentiate into muscle and fat cells, and for the muscle fibers to develop – to the right thickness and density – before they are ready to be cooked.

Steakholder Food Focus

A pioneer in the food technology industry, Steakholder Foods was founded in 2017, with sustainability in mind. The company also specializes in the production of other meats, including those from poultry and livestock cell lines.

For meat production, stem cells are extracted and made to reproduce in spaces that provide them with nutrients. Once the optimal number of stem cells is obtained, they differentiate into muscle and fat cells which are used to make meat for all kinds of dishes including burgers, kebabs, meat patties and meat pies.

In September last year, the company announced the development of a 3D-printed Omakase Beef Morsels cultured beef product. The company also farms the largest steak ever – 3.67 oz (104 grams) – cultured print chops.

The emergence of foodtech

With the first lab-grown burger – created by scientists in the Netherlands – eaten live on television in 2013, the food technology industry has thrived since then, and the global market is expected to exceed $385.7 billion by 2030. The cultured meat industry growing rapidly, with companies like Dutch biotech Mosa Meat and US-based UPSIDE Foods making headlines, as synthetic biology transforms the way we grow food.

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