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In first, Israeli company grows meat in space

08 October 2019

Cow cells were harvested back on Earth and sent on board the Russian segment of the ISS.

NASA astronauts Scott Kelly (R) and Kjell Lindgren style greens grown in house on the Worldwide House Station in 2015.

Final month, a collaboration amongst 4 firms from Israel, Russia and the US produced the primary ever "space beef steak" contained in the Worldwide House Station.

Food tech startup Aleph Farms has become the first to produce lab-grown meat - also called clean meat and cultured meat - in space. That's right. Meat has been bioprinted in space.

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Aleph's growth technique replicates cows' muscle tissue regeneration process, just in artificial conditions - the only big change for spaceborne creation is the faster maturation, since you can print from all sides at once instead of coping with the limitations of gravity. Aleph Farms has competition - Mosa Meats in the Netherlands and Memphis Meats in the U.S. are also racing to develop in vitro or "clean" meat.

Several Israeli startups have joined a handful of companies around the globe trying to develop lab-grown meat, something they see as a humane solution to the needs of the world's ever-growing population and burgeoning demand for food. Four years later, meat is being grown in space as well.

Aleph Farms' lab-grown steak.

As global consumption of meat is projected to rise by 88 percent between 2010 and 2050 by the World Resources Institute, science is seeking less resource-intensive ways of producing it, with in vitro cultivation of animal cells offering a possible solution.

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According to the company, their reason for growing meat in one of the "most extreme environments imaginable" was to research various methods of feeding a rapidly-growing population with "sustainable food production methods that don't exacerbate land waste, water waste, and pollution".

The company notes the proof-of-concept experiment is meant to demonstrate the efficiency of its cutting-edge cell cultivation process.

"The mission of providing access to high-quality nutrition anytime, anywhere in a sustainable way is an increasing challenge for all humans", said Jonathan Berger, CEO of The Kitchen accelerator that co-founded Aleph.

"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", he added.

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This achievement, said Toubia, "follows Yuri Gagarin's success of becoming the first man to journey into outer space, and Neil Armstrong's 50 anniversary this year, celebrating the moment when the first man walked [in] space".

In first, Israeli company grows meat in space