They grow laboratory meat for the first time in space

The Israeli startup Aleph Farms has tested for the first time the cultivation of meat in a laboratory under microgravity conditions outside the Earth. An experiment on the International Space Station reveals the potential to generate constant supplies of meat for future deep-space missions.

From aquaponics to vertical farms, the development of meat in vitro or plant-based plant alternatives, throughout the planet there are several initiatives that seek to feed the future population generating less waste and food waste, spending less water and resources or looking for ways for a diet free of animal exploitation.

And the projects do not apply only to our planet, but also to the vastness of the cosmos, in order to find ways to provide nutritious menus to astronauts aboard long space missions. Now, an Israeli startup has achieved a milestone in an experiment conducted at the International Space Station, in order to grow meat in vitro on a small scale.

To do this, bovine cells were sent to the IEE and a 3Dbioprinter was used to grow the cells in small-scale muscle tissue. Aleph Farms, the startup after this pioneering project, has confirmed that this is the first time this process is attempted under microgravity conditions.

It is a method of meat production that in addition to being free of abuse uses significantly less natural resources than traditional animal husbandry, making the technique a theoretically feasible strategy to generate food during long space travel.

"In space, we don't have 10,000 or 15,000 liters of water available to produce a kilo of meat," says Didier Toubia, co-founder and CEO of Aleph Farms. "This joint experiment marks a significant first step towards achieving our vision to ensure the food security of future generations, while preserving our natural resources."

While plant-based meat substitutes, such as Beyond Meat and Impossible Burgers, are already causing a fury both among stockbrokers and in consumer baskets, there is still more time for synthetic or cultured animal meat alternatives in the laboratory they land on the plates of the guests. The one known as ethical or in vitro meat will be generalized, according to experts, in a period that varies between three years and a decade.

In the case of Aleph Farms, they have plans not only to substitute products such as minced meat, but to generate complete laboratory-grown fillets that replicate exactly the taste, shape, texture and structure of different animal muscle tissues. In Spain projects are already being developed that will be released soon as the one of the leading Basque startup of Biotech Foods, which will launch such processes next year.