What would an industrial-scale cell-based meat plant look like?

While some start-ups such as Israeli firm Aleph Farms​ are focusing on growing 3D tissue on edible scaffolding upon which they are seeding multiple cell types to create thin strips of ‘steak,’ others are exploring techniques such as 3D bio-printing, said BlueNalu chief technology officer Chris Dammann PhD at the Industrializing Cell-Based Meats conference​ in San Francisco last week.

A cellular aquaculture start-up based in San Diego, BlueNalu​ has assembled a team with expertise in food innovation and tech commercialization, cell biology, tissue engineering, biomedical engineering, and bioprinting (which has previously been used in the medical field), Dr Dammann told FoodNavigator-USA.

“We’re not starting from scratch, we’re borrowing from existing technologies, biomedical printing and food printing. You can print cells and make organs; the challenges is doing it fast and at scale, but we have good concepts to do that, it’s high density printing and some people prefer to call it extrusion. It’s a pretty cool way to do it. The other solutions are elegant, but this technology will enable us to do this ​[produce cell-cultured meat] at a large scale.”

BlueNalu: ‘We will show how you can scale 3D bio-printing with cells and make really large structures’

Asked why, if the technique has promise for large-scale meat production, more companies in the field are not looking at it, he said: “If you say bio-printing, people think of this little tiny needle with micrometer resolution that would take forever, but there are methods… and we will show probably in 1-2 years how you can scale 3D bio-printing with cells and make really large structures. The technology is basically there. And this process lends itself well to fish tissue.”

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