Search icon


01st Sep 2021

Scientists create synthetic beef from $30,000 cow cells using 3D printing

Danny Jones

Synthetic beef 3D-printed in Japan

A huge step forward in the move away from animal products

According to a recent study, meat makes up 86.4% of Brits diets and although so many of us love our chicken, beef, fish, and so on, the impact it has on the environment is becoming harder to ignore.

Moreover, if we could indulge our carnivorous appetites without having to kill animals in the process, surely everyone would? Well, scientists look like they may just have the answer.

Lab-grown meat is not a new frontier in science – experts have been working on introducing sustainable, affordable, and, most importantly, tasty ‘clean meat’ for many years – but 3D-printed synthetic beef is the latest incredible feat to be achieved.

As you can see in the video, scientists from Japan’s Osaka University managed to recreate beef containing muscle, fat, and blood vessels, from just two types of stem cells from Wagyu cows: bovine satellite cells and adipose-derived cells. Using these, they were able to make man-made meat that comes from the same source its genuine counterpart does.

For those unaware, Wagyu meat is arguably the most sought-after beef you can find on the market; it’s a regular in fine-dining restaurants and has a super high price tag, costing up to £145.42 per pound and nearly £22k for an adult cow.

And the scientists didn’t just stop at getting the taste right – they even nailed the texture. The ‘bioprinting’ process was carefully calibrated in order to try and recreate the exact nature of the tissue and achieve the marbling that Wagyu steaks are so well-known for.

Unfortunately, it could still be a while before you can chomp down on some bio-printed beef, as the likes of The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have not set out regulations for these products yet.

Perhaps one of the most impressive aspects about the whole thing is that one of the lead researchers, Michiya Matsusaki, claims that “by improving this technology” it could be possible to design meat with particular amounts of fat/muscle to cater to both taste and health requirements.

Related links