April 11, 2023

Scientists Fatten Up Lab-Grown Meat

Scientists have proven that you can create meat in a lab, and now a crew of biomedical engineers have discovered a way to add the component that makes meat so tasty: fat.

Several companies across the world have proven that lab-grown meat (or cultured meat) can be easily made and mass-produced, but getting it to taste like the real thing has proven a challenge. After all, how do you create bacon without fat?

Researchers from the Tufts University Center of Cellular Architecture (TUCCA) in Somerville, Massachusetts believe they have the answer to this question. Instead of cultivating a bulk mass of fat, they focused on growing cells borrowed from mice and pigs in a two-dimensional layer, then lumped them together in a three-dimensional mass using an edible binder.

John Yuen Jr, the project’s first author and TUCCA graduate student, explained the result in a statement released last Tuesday, 4 April, that “the aggregated fat cells immediately had the appearance of fat tissue.”

“Our goal was to develop a relatively simple method of producing bulk fat. Since fat tissue is predominantly cells with few other structural components, we thought that aggregating the cells after growth would be sufficient to reproduce the taste, nutrition and texture profile of natural animal fat,” added Yuen.

The team also conducted related experiments to prove that the substance could be tuned to a desired texture, thus making an authentic taste and feel similar to what you could get at a supermarket.

In the near future, you might wonder if that wagyu steak you ordered is real or lab-grown, but who cares when it tastes so good?