Obtained the first 'bite' of synthetic meat that has the same muscular consistency of beef: just a few millimeters in size, it was grown in the laboratories of the University of Tokyo thanks to a new regenerative medicine technique that allows you to recreate the alignment of the elements ('myotubes') that form the muscle fibers.
The result, published in the journal Science of Food, will help improve the pleasantness of synthetic meat, a candidate product to meet the food needs of the world population by reducing the environmental impact of farms.
More than seven years have passed since tasting the first synthetic hamburger produced with stem cells at the University of Maastricht, and since last December the first nuggets of cultured chicken meat have already been served at the tables of a Singapore restaurant: this shows how much research has intensified to develop products with a consistency increasingly similar to real meat.
Most of the time, however, amorphous or granular pieces of meat, similar to mincemeat, came out of the laboratories.
To overcome this problem, Japanese researchers cultured bovine myoblasts (i.e., embryonic muscle cells) on small, three-dimensional hydrogel scaffolds, which can be stacked on top of each other to allow fusion of myoblasts into well-aligned myotubes, just like it happens in the real muscles.
The bite of synthetic beef, subjected to electrical stimulation, has been shown to be able to contract.
After 14 days of tube culture, the tissue was practically sterile, with a microbial content below the detection threshold, thus proving to be safer and easier to store than natural meat.