Rehovot, Israel-based Aleph Farms and its research partner at the faculty of biomedical engineering at the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology announced on February 9 that they have successfully cultivated the world’s first slaughter-free ribeye steak, using three-dimensional (3D) bioprinting technology and natural building blocks of meat – real cow cells, without genetic engineering and immortalization.
With this proprietary technology developed just two years after it debuted the first cultivated thin-cut steak in 2018 which did not utilize 3D bioprinting, the company now has the ability to produce any type of steak and plans to expand its portfolio of quality meat cuts.
Unlike 3D printing technology, Aleph Farms’ 3D bioprinting technology is the printing of actual living cells that are then incubated to grow, differentiate and interact, in order to acquire the texture and qualities of a real steak. A proprietary system, similar to the vascularization that occurs naturally in tissues, enables the perfusion of nutrients across the thicker tissue and grants the steak with the similar shape and structure of its native form as found in livestock before and during cooking.
“This breakthrough reflects an artistic expression of the scientific expertise of our team,” said Didier Toubia, co-founder and chef executive officer of Aleph Farms. “I am blessed to work with some of the greatest people in this industry. We recognize some consumers will crave thicker and fattier cuts of meat. This accomplishment represents our commitment to meeting our consumer’s unique preferences and taste buds, and we will continue to progressively diversify our offerings.”
He continued: “Additional meat designs will drive a larger impact in the mid and long term. This milestone for me marks a major leap in fulfilling our vision of leading a global food system transition toward a more sustainable, equitable and secure world.”
The cultivated ribeye steak is a thicker cut than the company’s first product – a thin-cut steak. It incorporates muscle and fat similar to its slaughtered counterpart and boasts the same organoleptic attributes of a tender, juicy ribeye steak that would be purchased at a butcher shop.
“With the realization of this milestone, we have broken the barriers to introducing new levels of variety into the cultivated meat cuts we can now produce. As we look into the future of 3D bioprinting, the opportunities are endless,” said Technion Professor Shulamit Levenberg, who is also Aleph’s co-founder, chief scientific advisor and a major brainpower behind the company’s intellectual property.
Levenberg is considered a global leader in tissue engineering and has amassed over two decades of research in the field at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the United States and at the Technion in Israel. He is also the former Dean of the Biomedical Engineering Faculty at the Technion.
Aleph Farms’ ambitious plans to diversify its offering align with its mission to create a global platform for local production, leveraging a highly scalable technology to create culinary experiences that can be adapted for the different food cultures around the world.