Lab-grown meat now has its own texture

Lab-grown meat now has its own texture

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Researchers at Harvard have made an advancement in cell-based meat, they have grown rabbit and cow muscle cells on edible gelatin scaffolds that mimic the texture and consistency of meat, according to the Harvard Gazette. 

“The materials-science expertise of the chefs was impressive,” said Kit Parker, the senior author of the study. “After discussions with them, I began to wonder if we could apply all that we knew about regenerative medicine to the design of synthetic foods. After all, everything we have learned about building organs and tissues for regenerative medicine applies to food: healthy cells and healthy scaffolds are the building substrates, the design rules are the same, and the goals are the same: human health. This is our first effort to bring hardcore engineering design and scalable manufacturing to the creation of food.”

The researchers used mechanical testing to compare their rabbit and cow muscle samples to rabbit, bacon, beef tenderloin and prosciutto. The research shows that fully grown lab meat is a possibility. 

Parker said moving forward the goals are better nutrition, taste, texture and affordable pricing. As for a long-range goal, it is reduce the environmental footprint of food. 

“Our methods are always improving and we have clear objectives because our design rules are informed by natural meats," said Luke MacQueen, first author of the study and a research associate at SEAS and the Wyss Institute for Bioinspired Engineering. "Eventually, we think it may be possible to design meats with defined textures, tastes, and nutritional profiles — a bit like brewing."

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