Newcastle scientists create UK's first lab-made steak

Scientists have made what they said was a "game-changing" breakthrough after cooking - and eating - a steak grown entirely in a lab.

The meat was created using only animal cells, with no other components needed, in a lab in Newcastle. Creators say the discovery could cut agricultural emissions around the world.

The steak fillet was entirely made from pork cells and measured nine cm in width, four cm in length and one cm in height, making it the same size and shape as a small fillet of traditional pork meat. The fillet also replicated pork’s flavour and texture, scientists said.

The lab-created meat showed many similarities to animal meat. Credit: 3D Bio-Tissues

The process

Producing the fillet began by extracting cells from a pig and putting them in a cell-culture environment, which allowed them to grow and divide.

The cells were then cultivated using the company’s proprietary structured meat technology along with a city-mix cell booster to turn the cells into structured meat.

Dr Che Connon and Dr Ricardo Gouveia have been working on the project. Credit: 3DBT

Tasting and testing

Professor of Tissue Engineering at Newcastle University and 3DBT’S chief executive Dr Che Connon and CSO Dr Ricardo Gouveia: said: "In its raw state, the steak fillet was very similar in appearance to conventional meat with fibres clearly visible.

"On cutting the fillet, it also looked similar to raw conventional meat. The touch in terms of consistency and elasticity and, as with fresh traditional meat, had no obvious aroma while raw.

"On pan-frying, the fillet did shrink, as would be expected with high-quality traditional meat. The fillet seared easily and showed the typical charring and crisping on its surface."

The taste test gets underway Credit: 3D Bio-Tissues

Dr Che Connon said it is a "huge game changer" for the industry.

He said: "What we have done is produce the world's first 100% meat pork fillet steak. What we mean by that is that there's no additional fillers, there's no additional protein or plant protein or anything else to give the meat the structure which is what has traditionally had to happen before now."

The company will take its findings from this process and produce another full-scale fillet to be showcased, cooked and eaten by a select panel at an upcoming event in London.

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