How to make artificial meat even more like the present

Today, artificial meat is becomingan increasingly popular (albeit still largely experimental) type of food product. There are several companies that have quite successfully mastered the technology for the production of artificial meat and even use it when creating burger patties. Recently, our compatriots entered this race. However, at the moment, artificial meat has one problem - its texture is still far from ideal.

Artificial meat is becoming more and more like the present

How is artificial meat different from natural

If you try to simplify the technology as much as possibleproduction of artificial meat, it will turn out something like this: scientists take the muscle cells of animals and place them in a bioreactor - a container where optimal conditions are maintained for the development and reproduction of cells. In the laboratory, you can grow an arbitrarily large number of such cells, but not only the cells themselves give the texture to the meat, but also the muscle fibers around which they “accumulate”.

Real animal meat has in its compositiona certain frame of coarse fibers, due to which meat has its own properties. Scientists want to recreate something similar in laboratory conditions, as the texture of artificial meat still looks extremely unnatural.

According to the editors of Nature magazine, relying onsimilar theses, scientists from Harvard University's School of Engineering and Applied Sciences used the process known as “rotational inkjet spinning” to create nanofibers from food-grade gelatin. In fact, it is a bioprinter that can “braid” the printed material. Using the technology of jet spinning, they created thin fibers from edible gelatin, which serve as a replacement for the intercellular substance of real muscle tissue and a skeleton for muscle cells.

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When the muscle cells of rabbits and cows weresubsequently placed in bioreactors with artificial muscle fibers located there, these cells fixed on the fibers and began to multiply, eventually forming meat with a fibrous structure and texture similar to that of real meat. How do you feel about artificial meat? Write about it in our chat in Telegram.

Artificial meat grown by scientists (above) and rabbit meat (below)

Mechanical tests confirmed thatthe meat obtained from the test tube is very similar to the present. However, it is still not perfect. Scientists say that in ordinary meat there is much more fiber than in what they did.

Although cultured and natural productshad a comparable texture, natural meat contained more muscle fibers, which means they were more mature, says lead author of the study, Dr. Harvard University Dr. Luc McQueen. In vitro muscle and fat cell maturation is still a very big problem that will require a combination of advanced stem cell sources, culture medium formulations, the development of edible scaffolds such as ours, as well as advances in methods for improving bioreactors. Ultimately, we believe that any meat with any texture, taste and other characteristics can be developed.

Despite the rather great success in the fieldcreating artificial meat, scientists still have a lot of work to do. In particular, the production technology itself is not very convenient at the moment, since the fibers and muscle cells need to be grown separately, and then combine them in a bioreactor. If it is possible to develop a technology for growing all components in one tub, then this will be a real breakthrough.