Researchers at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada have developed a new form of cultivated meat using a method that they say promises more natural flavor and texture than other alternatives to traditional meat from animals, according to a new study published in the journal Cells Tissues Organs.
The investigators devised a way to create the meat by stacking thin sheets of cultivated muscle and fat cells grown together in a lab setting. The technique is adapted from a method used to grow tissue for human transplants.
The sheets of living cells, each about the thickness of a sheet of printer paper, are first grown in culture and then concentrated on growth plates before being peeled off and stacked or folded together. The sheets naturally bond to one another before the cells die. The layers can be stacked into a solid piece of any thickness “tuned” to replicate the fat content and marbling of any cut of meat, an advantage over other alternatives.
The researchers proved the concept by making meat from available lines of mouse cells. Though they did not eat the mouse meat described in the research paper, they later made and cooked a sample of meat they created from rabbit cells. “It felt and tasted just like meat,” says Ravi Selvaganapathy, PhD, one of the study researchers and a professor in the university’s School of Biomedical Engineering.
There is no reason to think the same technology would not work for growing beef, pork or chicken, and the model would lend itself well to large-scale production, Dr. Selvaganapathy says.