ISRAEL – Aleph Farms, an Israeli food technology start-up company, has successfully carried out a trial on cell-grown meat in the space as part of its mission to provide sustainable food security on the planet.
Aleph Farms conducted the experiment on International Space Station that is over 248 miles away from any natural resources to demonstrate that meat can be produced in adverse conditions without availability of land and local water resources.
Aleph undertook the project in collaboration with international partners including US-based companies Meal Source Technologies and Finless Foods, and Russian tech company 3D Bioprinting Solutions.
The researchers harvested bovine cells sourced from Earth and cultured the cells in the space in an environment mimicking the inside of a cow’s body.
The cells, under zero-gravity conditions using a 3D bioprinter supplied by 3D Bioprinting Solutions, were able to multiply and grow connective muscle tissue — eventually into a full-sized steak.
Aleph Farm says that the cutting-edge research in some of the most extreme environments imaginable is aimed at providing a solution to feeding the rapidly growing population, predicted to reach 10 billion individuals by 2050.
With the success of the experiment, the company is optimistic that it is possible to meet its overall goal of enabling access to safe and nutritious meat anytime, anywhere, using minimal resources.
It serves as an essential growth indicator of sustainable food production methods that don’t exacerbate land waste, water waste, and pollution, the company said in a press release.
Didier Toubia, co-founder and CEO of Aleph Farms, said: “In space, we don’t have 10,000 or 15,000 litres of water available to produce one kilogram of beef.
“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.
“This keystone of human achievement in space follows Yuri Gagarin’s success of becoming the first man to journey into outer space, and Neil Armstrong’s 50th anniversary this year, celebrating the moment when the first man walked on space.”
Jonathan Berger, CEO of food-tech incubator The Kitchen added: “The mission of providing access to high-quality nutrition anytime, anywhere in a sustainable way is an increasing challenge for all humans.
“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.”
In a recent report, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, established by the United Nations, emphasized the integral contribution of the conventional animal farming methods on climate change, creating “a challenging situation worse and undermining food security.”
The authors who contributed to the report have shed light on climate change effects on land, especially desertification, land degradation, and diminishing availability of food supplies.
According to the reports, beef alone is responsible for 41% of livestock greenhouse gas emissions while livestock accounts for 14.5% of total global emissions.
Aleph and it partners claim that the successful completion of the experiment is an indication that the process is not only more humane, but it’s also better for the environment.