MeaTech3D, an Israel-based cultured meat startup, announced this week that it had demonstrated progress in the differentiation process from stem cells to muscle fibers.
According to the announcement, MeaTech has achieved the formation of living muscle fibers to a point where they “mirror key characteristics of farm-raised meat.” To achieve the results, MeaTech isolated bovine stem cells, which were then proliferated in the lab. From there, they were able to differentiate these cells into matured muscle cells with improved muscle fiber density, thickness, and length.
This news from MeaTech is just the latest from the startup as they assemble a toolbox of technologies to replicate whole cut animal meat using cell-cultured processes. In September of last year, they announced they had developed a new stem cell manipulation technology that uses plant inputs to transform embryonic mesenchymal stem cells (or eMSCs) into fat cells. That process could be used to replicate intramuscular fat, the fat structures that ribbon through a sophisticated cut of meat such as a ribeye steak. Before that, the company filed for a patent for its technology that 3D prints cell-cultured meat products.
MeaTech isn’t the only group working on developing technology to create muscle fibers via cellular agriculture. Last year, a group of researchers at the University of Tokyo in Japan were able to replicate muscle fibers via cell culture process. The Japanese group achieved a level of elasticity, as the strands contracted in the same way muscle fibers contract.