Wagyu beef

Japanese researchers create lab-grown Wagyu beef [Video]


  • Japanese researchers from Osaka University have created lab-grown Wagyu beef by using 3-D bioprinters and bovine stem cells to replicate Wagyu’s distinctive marbling.
  • The process currently takes weeks to create just a small piece, and producing a single gram costs about $89.40.
  • The team aims to improve the process of automation so that it could be available for distribution within five years.

The famous Wagyu beef from Japan is a premium delicacy that costs up to $200 a pound at some top restaurants. Now scientists are aiming to provide more affordable alternatives by recreating the meat in a laboratory.



The world-renowned Wagyu beef comes from a breed of black cattle that are known to be bred in the Kobe area of Western Japan. The meat is known for its remarkable and distinctive fat marbling.

Researchers from Osaka University have since tried to replicate the meat by using 3-D bioprinters and bovine stem cells. They aim to produce something that will look and taste like the real steak, compared to the usual lab-grown minced meat.

It will still take a long time before the meat is ready for commercial distribution, however.

Currently, generating just a cubic centimeter of cultured meat takes about three to four weeks.

Team lead Michiya Matsusaki told Reuters that they hope to “quickly produce a lot of meat from a few cells” as their techniques and efficiency improve. He added that it could provide a chance to “better respond to food and protein shortage issues in the future.”

The current process costs about 10,000 yen ($89.40) to produce just a single gram of lab-grown Wagyu beef. Matsusaki said that the price could drop significantly within five years so that it could be marketed to the general public.

Critics have increasingly raised environmental and ethical concerns about the meat industry recently. This has driven up the interest in non-meat alternatives such as plant-based and lab-grown products. Companies that offer meat alternatives, such as plant-based burger maker Impossible Foods Inc., have seen significant growth in the past years. Analysts even say that the company could exceed $10 billion as it prepares for a public listing.

Matsusaki added that the bioprinting and culture techniques they developed also have potential uses in human medicine, such as generating replacements for damaged muscles.


Source: Reuters

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