The Israeli food tech company, which developed a method of growing cultivated beef steaks using animal cells, said it has succeeded in producing meat on the International Space Station, 248 miles away from Earth.
The experiment was the result of an international collaboration between Aleph Farms, and Russia’s 3D Bioprinting Solutions, which develops implementations of 3D bioprinting technologies, alongside the US’s Meal Source Technologies and Finless Foods.
Aleph Farms’ production method of cultivated beef steaks relies on mimicking a natural process of muscle-tissue regeneration occurring inside the cow’s body, but under controlled laboratory conditions.
Within the framework of this experiment, the Russian segment of the ISS established a successful proof of concept that cultured meat can be produced in space by assembling a small-scale muscle tissue in a 3D bioprinter developed by 3D Bioprinting Solutions, under micro-gravity conditions.
‘On Earth or up above, we count on innovators’
Aleph Farms said the development is an important milestone in its ambition to enable on Earth ‘unconditional access to safe and nutritious meat’ while using ‘minimal resources’. Proving the concept in the ‘extreme’ environment of space serves as an ‘essential growth indicator’ of sustainable food production methods that don’t exacerbate land waste, water waste, and pollution, Aleph argued.
“In space, we don’t have 10,000 or 15,000 Liter (3962.58 Gallon) of water available to produce one Kg (2.205 Pound) of beef,” said Didier Toubia, co-founder and CEO of Aleph Farms.
“This joint experiment marks a significant first step toward achieving our vision to ensure food security for generations to come, while preserving our natural resources,” Toubia concluded.
Aleph is supported by Israeli start-up incubator The Kitchen, which counts the cultured meat company as one of its portfolio businesses.
The Kitchen CEO Jonathan Berger said that this latest experiment underlines the importance of innovation to tackle the challenges of sustainable food production.
“The mission of providing access to high-quality nutrition anytime, anywhere in a sustainable way is an increasing challenge for all humans,” Berger added. “On Earth or up above, we count on innovators like Aleph Farms to take the initiative to provide solutions to some of the world’s most pressing problems, such as the climate crisis.”