3D printing has been used to produce a variety of objects. But did you know that it can also be used to produce food? 

3D printing has been used by Japanese scientists to produce lab-grown Wagyu steak in a new study conducted by researchers at Osaka University. 

The resulting lab-grown Wagyu steak opens up the possibility for producing meat alternatives in methods that are more sustainable and helpful to the environment. 

3D Printing Produces Lab-Grown Wagyu Steak

Wagyu Steak
(Photo : leeyounghee from Pixabay)

3D printing has been used by scientists at Osaka University to produce one of the most-loved Japanese food products there is, Wagyu steak. 

According to EurekAlert!, researchers used two types of stem cells that were isolated from Wagyu cows to print the lab-grown Wagyu steak. 

"Using the histological structure of Wagyu beef as a blueprint, we have developed a 3D-printing method that can produce tailor-made complex structures, like muscle fibers, fat, and blood vessels," according to the study's lead author, Dong-Hee Kang.

The lab-grown Wagyu steak contains "muscle, fat, and blood vessels arranged to closely resemble conventional steaks." These were fabricated from the two types of stem cells using 3D bioprinting. 

According to the study's senior author, Michiya Matsusaki, improving the technology of 3D printing in producing lab-grown steaks will make it possible to "not only reproduce complex meat structures, such as the beautiful sashi of Wagyu beef, but to also make subtle adjustments to the fat and muscle components."

Sashi is the Japanese term for marbling.

Related Article: Quick Guide to Wagyu Beef: Origin, History, Meat Grading, Cooking Guide, Price

Other Lab-Grown Meat

The lab-grown Wagyu steak produced using 3D printing is not the first lab-grown meat to ever be made. In fact, a lab-grown meat factory was opened in Israel back in June. 

According to Futurism, the factory was opened by an Israeli biotech company known as Future Meat. Per the report, the Israeli meat factory "can produce cell-based chicken, pork, and lamb products" at quantities that can reach 1,100 lbs a day. 

In the United States, a Silicon Valley startup called Orbillion Bio recently held a demo to showcase lab-grown meat such as lamb burgers, elk sausages, and Wagyu meatloaf, according to a separate report by Futurism.

What is 3D printing? 

Different technologies can be used to produce lab-grown meat and it is no surprise that one of these technologies is 3D printing. But what exactly is 3D printing?

3D printing has been defined by Investopedia as "an additive manufacturing process that creates a physical object from a digital design."

3D printing has been used to produce a variety of products, including a wearable mesh that functions as flexible medical braces. 3D printing has even produced a hotel suite before. 

In the study done by the researchers at Osaka University, they used a specific type of 3D printing called 3D bioprinting. 3D bioprinting "uses 3D printing techniques to fabricate tissue, organs, and biomedical parts that imitate natural tissue architecture," according to ScienceDirect

Also Read: 3D Bioprinting Tech Manages To Depict An Actual, Active Tumor

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Written by Isabella James

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