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Researchers in Japan have grown Wagyu beef in a lab

Last week in Japan a team of scientists from Osaka University announced that they’d managed to 3D-print a cut of wagyu beef with all of the muscle, fat, and blood vessels that a carnivore could love.

Wagyu skirt steak: Image Credit: Flickr/TheThrillsTheyYield

Their work was published in the peer-reviewed publication Nature Communications, and it marks a significant step forward in the state of the art for lab grown meat.

Most companies that are working on lab grown meat have managed to make meat that emulates the muscle tissue of an animal without much of the marbled fat that makes meat… well… meaty and delicious.

Wagyu beef from Japan is world famous for its high intramuscular fat content, known as the marbling of the meat. As the meat cooks, the fat provides flavors and texture that most carnivores love.

It’s been hard to replicate.

The researchers from Osaka University used the histological structure of Wagyu beef as their blueprint, according to the lead author on the research paper, Dong-Hee Kang.

“We have developed a 3D-printing method that can produce tailor-made complex structures, like muscle fibers, fat, and blood vessels,” Kang said in a statement

The team used both stem cells and fat-derived cells to create the different cell lines that the company used in bioprinting.

“By improving this technology, it will be 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,” senior author Michiya Matsusaki, another researcher said.

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