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Raw Meat Meets 3D Printing

A bio-cartridge "prints" living cells, one on top of the next, and they naturally fuse to form muscle tissue

smithsonian.com

Someday, this may all be engineered from scratch. Photo: borkazoid

3D printing has met the sustainable food movement. A U.S.-based startup called Modern Meadow claims to make artificial raw meat using a 3D bioprinter, and some venture capitalists’ mouthes are watering. Paypal co-founder and early Facebook investor Peter Thiel just backed the company with a $350,000 investment, the BBC reports.

To create their carnivorous offerings, Modern Meadow’s father-son team harnesses typical 3-D printing technology, which creates solid objects from adding tiny droplets, layer by layer, through an inkjet nozzle. To apply this method to meat, the scientists take stem cells, which can replicated themselves many times and be converted into other types of cells, multiply them and load them into a bio-cartridge. As the cartridge “prints” the cells, one on top of the next, they naturally fuse to form living tissue. ”It eventually will be killed – not killed in the sense of killing an animal but killing the tissue construct,” Prof. Gabor Forgacs, the elder of the two founders, told the BBC.

Other researchers are attempting to harness 3D printing’s ability to manufacture flesh. But they’re creating living organs that could be used for transplants rather than breakfast.

More from Smithsonian.com:

Horse Meat Turned Up in Irish and British Burger Meat 
Seitan: The Other Fake Meat

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