Beef grown on ISS in milestone for cultured meat

Food has been cultivated in the International Space Station for the first time

Food has been cultivated in the International Space Station for the first time

On September 25, the Israeli food-tech startup Aleph Farms loaded a spacecraft with vials of cow cells.

The Japanese space agency, JAXA, is also working on a full menu of cultivated foods - including a steak - to be available to those on the moon in 2040. "What is more, creating cultured meat products in space may grant invaluable scientific insights for implementation of this technology on Earth".

The experiment was marketed as being about devising the astronauts' food of the future.

But there are still limits to the types of food that can withstand microgravity.

The experiment was led by Israeli startup Aleph Farms with support from Russian biotech company 3D Bioprinting Solutions and USA -based Meal Source Technologies and Finless Foods.

In December, Aleph Farms announced it had produced a prototype "strip" of steak grown from cells in the lab in two weeks, although it admitted the taste needed to be improved. It's basically made of animal muscle cells grown in a culture in a lab, a technology similar to stem cells.

Aleph Farms starts by gathering cells from live cows. From there, they grow into a thin piece of steak.

The company harvested cow cells on Earth before launching them to the ISS.

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Last month, a collaboration among four companies from Israel, Russia and the USA produced the first ever "space beef steak" inside the International Space Station. Aleph Farms used equipment supplied by Russian company 3D Bioprinting Solutions.

Subsequent, the runt-scale muscle-tissue was positioned underneath zero-gravity stipulations and assembled in a 3D bioprinter. The samples returned to Earth on October 3.

What do you think of this meat grown aboard the International Space Station?

Not only is this process more humane, but it's also better for the environment, the company says - one of its aims is to make meat with a minimal environmental footprint.

Normally, it takes up to 5,200 gallons of water to produce a single 2.2-pound steak (the large slabs typically sold at the grocery store).

Beef production uses up a lot of land and resources. The meat industry generates more greenhouse gas emissions than the world's total transport sector.

In a statement to Business Insider, Aleph Farms said its space experiment was a direct response to these challenges.

These methods are aimed at feeding a rapidly growing world population predicted to reach 10 billion individuals by 2050, Aleph Farms said, citing a report published last month by the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, that argued that conventional animal farming methods contributed greatly to climate change, creating "a challenging situation worse and undermining food security". "We all share the same planet".

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