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Israeli 3D printing startup successfully prints meat tissue from stem cells

The experiment, dubbed “Project Carpaccio,” involved proprietary 3D printer for tissue construction, followed by a cell-growth process.

Render of MeaTech's 3D printer. Courtesy of MeaTech. Render of MeaTech's 3D printer. Courtesy of MeaTech.

Israeli cultured meat bioprinting startup MeaTech announced on Monday that its scientists have successfully completed the 3D printing of a thin, uniform, slaughter-free meat tissue produced from stem cells.

Calling the achievement a “technological breakthrough” and the company’s “most important experiment to date,” the company said in the announcement that the successful trial “significantly increases the feasibility of MeaTech technologies.”

The Ness Ziona-based company’s plan was to develop an industrial process, using integrated 3D digital printing technology to grow and produce cuts of beef without harming animals. The experiment, dubbed “Project Carpaccio” due to its similarity to the thinly-sliced meat delicacy, applied its proprietary 3D printer for tissue construction, followed by a cell-growth process.

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MeaTech said its scientists succeeded in printing several cell types, which blended into a single fat and muscle tissue grown in MeaTech’s laboratory. The effort brought about the coalescence of a living tissue composed of several different bovine cells.

The results of the project were analyzed by a professional examiner and corroborated by the company’s audit committee.

Founded in 2018, MeaTech 3D focuses on the 3D printing of cultured meat to develop commercial manufacturing technologies based on stem cells. The goal of the company is to create alternative foods without harming animals. To create its meat, the company takes a sample of stem cells from the animal, reproduces these cells, divides them into different meat components, and 3D prints the meat into an accurate shape and structure.

The experiment, which MeaTech calls a “milestone achievement,” demonstrates three significant processes developed by the company: the successful sorting of stem cells into fat and muscle cells to allow the synthesis of muscle fibers and fat tissue; formulation and production of bio-inks designed to print fat and muscle cells to ultimately form tissues; and the formation of printed tissue containing coalesced fat and muscle cells.

The experiment also demonstrated that MeaTech’s digital bioprinter has high efficacy in arranging cells in space as planned, with coalescence observed both between different cells and between cells and their environment. Both of these occurrences are essential for tissue formation.

“Completing this significant milestone earlier than anticipated is a significant technological achievement for MeaTech, bringing it one step closer to developing technology to build slaughter-free meat-growing plants combined with printing technology, and demonstrating the company’s ability to print fat and muscle cells to build tissue,” said MeaTech’s Chairman, Steven H. Lavin.

This article first appeared in NoCamels, which covers innovations from Israel for a global audience.