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3D Printed Meat — and “Meat”

3D Printed Meat — and “Meat”

meat in the form of ribeye

Two Israeli companies have just made near-simultaneous announcements of their respective alternatives to traditional slaughtered meat. Though philosophically different — Redefine Meat is vegan, while Aleph Farms uses lab-grown cow muscle cells — both aim to reimagine humanity’s future dependence on meat. There are lots of reasons to try both tacks, from lessening our impact on the environment to taking a moral stand on factory farming. And, both companies use everyone’s favourite accessible future techs to build their products: 3D printing!
 
Though Redefine Meat’s “Alt-Meat” is made without animal products, it’s existentially terrifying in a different way. It’s printed from components the company has trademarked as “Alt-Muscle,” “Alt-Fat,” and “Alt-Blood,” and while they assure eaters those are all “made from sustainable, highly nutritious, and commonly available ingredients such as plant-based proteins, fats, and natural colors and flavors,” (link: https://www.redefinemeat.com/faq) they don’t say precisely what those are. (Soy? Gluten? Sawdust?) Plus, they result in a scarily accurate steak — which fulfils the company’s aim of providing an easy switch for active meat eaters, but would give current veg folks pause.
 
Meanwhile, Aleph Farm’s process is, despite the science-speak, a bit easier to wrap your head around:
 
“To create the meat, researchers used 3D bioprinting and real cow cells. The technology allows them to print living cells that can grow and interact in a vascular-like system helping nutrients move and resembling real steak. […]

Aleph Farms’ process uses a fraction of the resources required for raising an entire animal for meat, without antibiotics and without the use of fetal bovine serum (FBS). Part of the cost savings comes from using natural pluripotent cells that are cultivated in large quantities. Pluripotent cells, such as stem cells, can be used to make all of the other cell types in an organism.
 
‘The natural pluripotent cells can multiply efficiently and can mature into the cell types that make up meat, like muscle and fat cells. It is enough for us to harvest the cells once, and the procedure we use is non-invasive,’ [CEO Didier] Toubia explained.”
 
At DFC, we’re also invested in this tension, because we occupy an inclusive space with our sauce lines: Sure, you can use them on traditional meats, but what other mind-blowing options are out there? I’d be very interested to try both companies’ options, if and when they get international regulatory approval. I have no idea which would even be my favourite… And that’s a delicious kind of uncertainty!

A Bright Idea from Food Waste

A student innovator from the Philippines has turned a major problem in his country — food crops destroyed by climate change — into a surprising concept for sustainable power generation. Carvey Ehren Maigue has recently won the very first James Dyson Sustainability Award for AuREUS System Technology: Clear plastic panels, which can be made into windows or building cladding, that use embedded luminescent particles derived from food to harvest UV light and convert it to electricity. The invention is part-solar-panel, and part-aurora-borealis — Maigue was inspired by that natural phenomenon, which features sensitive particles which absorb energy and emit it as visible light.
 
I often find, with sustainable innovations, that they’re only sustainable in one way, or address only one part of a many-sided issue (paper drinking straws, anyone?) But, by incorporating waste crops as raw material for his solar panels, Maigue effectively doubles AuREUS’s beneficial impact on the environment! As the inventor himself puts it:
 
“We need to utilise our resources more and create systems that don’t deplete our current resources. […] With AuREUS, we upcycle the crops of the farmers that were hit by natural disasters, such as typhoons, which also happen to be an effect of climate change. By doing this, we can be both future-looking, and solve the problems that we are currently experiencing now.”
 
The bioluminescent particles are collected from the damaged crops by pulverizing them and straining the resultant slurry. The particles are then suspended in clear resin, which is then formed into approximately three-foot by two-foot panels. Maigue envisions future panels that are curved, or come in a variety of colours — no more “solar panels are too ugly” NIMBYism here! Eventually, he hopes his R&D yields threads and fabrics based on this technology. While I’d love a solar-panel sweater, made from recycled food no less, I’d be more than thrilled to start with some swanky windows! Isn’t the future bright — in more ways than one?

Wiiiiine Iiiiiiin Spaaaaaace (wine in space)

wine in space

For only the second time in human history, one of our planet’s most interesting beverages has slipped the surly bonds of Earth — for science! For only the second time in human history, one of our planet’s most interesting beverages has slipped the surly bonds of Earth — for science! Space Cargo Unlimited, a startup that supplies pressurized vehicles for space research, has recently taken delivery of a package that has spent over a year on the International Space Station: 12 bottles of Bordeaux wine and 360 vine canes. Part of the company’s MissionWise program (which investigates how agricultural products react in space as a trial for the pressures of climate change), the vino and vines will head to the University of Bordeaux’s Institute of Vine and Wine Science (ISVV). There, they will be checked for any changes their trip has caused — and the wines (six bottles each of Cab Sauv and Merlot) will later undergo a private tasting! From Decanter:

“Properties in the wines and vines will also be compared against control samples that stayed behind on earth.

‘We’re going to look at everything that has evolved,’ [Space Cargo Unlimited’s CEO Nicolas] Gaume said.

‘We’ll do a whole genome sequencing of the plants, to provide a clear view of all the DNA changes that could have happened on the stay on the ISS.’ […]

Gaume described the absence of gravity, or microgravity, as the ‘ultimate stress’. He said researchers involved in the project were interested in learning more about how the vine canes may have adapted or evolved in a relatively short time to be resilient to the stressful conditions.”
 
The previous oenological mission was STS-51-G, a flight of the space shuttle Discovery in June 1985, on which a French payload specialist brought a bottle of Château Lynch Bages (again, a Bordeaux), more as a publicity stunt for the region than anything else. This time around, the full analysis that ISVV promises will hopefully teach us something key about wine, space, and climate change, all at once. Thirsty work, indeed!and 360 vine canes. Part of the company’s MissionWise program (which investigates how agricultural products react in space as a trial for the pressures of climate change), the vino and vines will head to the University of Bordeaux’s Institute of Vine and Wine Science (ISVV). There, they will be checked for any changes their trip has caused — and the wines (six bottles each of Cab Sauv and Merlot) will later undergo a private tasting! From Decanter:

“Properties in the wines and vines will also be compared against control samples that stayed behind on earth.

‘We’re going to look at everything that has evolved,’ [Space Cargo Unlimited’s CEO Nicolas] Gaume said.

‘We’ll do a whole genome sequencing of the plants, to provide a clear view of all the DNA changes that could have happened on the stay on the ISS.’ […]

Gaume described the absence of gravity, or microgravity, as the ‘ultimate stress’. He said researchers involved in the project were interested in learning more about how the vine canes may have adapted or evolved in a relatively short time to be resilient to the stressful conditions.”
 
The previous oenological mission was STS-51-G, a flight of the space shuttle Discovery in June 1985, on which a French payload specialist brought a bottle of Château Lynch Bages (again, a Bordeaux), more as a publicity stunt for the region than anything else. This time around, the full analysis that ISVV promises will hopefully teach us something key about wine, space, and climate change, all at once. Thirsty work, indeed!