Aleph Farms, Technion-Israel Institute (Technion) spinoff company, has developed a technology for creating steak from a few cow cells in a bioreactor. Aleph Farms' clean meat is closer to free-range meat due to a proprietary approach that focuses on directly growing the edible part of the animal in 3D using four types of cells, ensuring an end product that resembles the taste, texture, and structure of farmed meat. Cell-grown meat technology is gaining interest for its promise of production of slaughter-free meat, without the need for devoting vast tracts of land, water, feed and other resources to raise cattle. This comes at a time when the adverse impacts of climate change and the effects on agriculture and livestock sectors, is under the spotlight. Cell-grown meat is typically grown from a few cells of a living animal, extracted painlessly. These cells are nourished and grow to produce a complex matrix that replicates muscle tissue.
At Aleph Farms, inventors believe meat is one of life ’s pleasures, to be celebrated and enjoyed without the downsides to health and the environment. Aleph Farms aims to offer superior, healthier, slaughter-free meat, providing a new customer experience. Slaughter-free meat involves taking a sample of animal cells from a real cow and replicating them outside of the animal: without the antibiotics, environmental footprint, contamination and animal slaughter which comes with conventional meat production.
One of the barriers to grown meat production has been getting the various cell types to interact with each other to build a complete tissue structure as they would in the natural environment inside the animal. The challenge is to find the right nutrients and a combination that would allow the multicellular matrix to grow together efficiently, creating a complete structure. Aleph Farms is implementing a combination of six unique technologies that allow it to drop the production costs of the meat, including innovative approaches related to an animal-free growth medium to nourish the cells, and bioreactors – the tanks in which the tissue grows.
According to Aleph Farms co-founder and CEO Didier Toubia, they are shaping the future of the meat industry - literally. Scientists have transformed the vision into reality by growing a steak under controlled conditions. The initial products are still relatively thin, but the technology they developed marks a true breakthrough and a great leap forward in producing a cell-grown steak.