The consortium is named the “Cultivated Meat Future Creation Consortium” and has a research promotion base at Osaka University. Professor Noriya Matsuzaki of the Graduate School of Engineering at Osaka University, Shimadzu Corporation, and Sigmaxys have been working together to commercialize cultured meat using a 3D printer (see related article below for manufacturing technology). The consortium will be operated by five parties, and will also recruit partners for development research and dissemination. Regarding the Osaka Expo, it has already been approved to exhibit at the Osaka Healthcare Pavilion as a consortium. Along with the establishment of the consortium, in February 2023, Osaka University, Itoham Yonekyu, and Toppan Printing established a joint research course for social implementation of cultured meat at Osaka University.
Shimadzu Corporation has the technology to measure the taste of cultured meat and plant-derived meat with analytical instruments. The amount of amino acids in artificial meat is measured with a high-performance liquid chromatograph (HPLC), the smell is measured with a gas chromatograph (GC), and the elasticity is measured with a texture analyzer. The consortium will make use of this technology and cell culture-related equipment that is also used in regenerative medicine. Specifically, we will (1) develop an automated production system that can produce cultured meat of 5 cm square, (2) optimize the ingredients with the aim of reducing the cost and improving the performance of the culture medium, and (3) taste the cultured meat produced. (4) Analyze raw ingredients that are useful for deliciousness and health promotion.
Itoham Yonekyu collects seed cells from its own wagyu beef and provides them as materials for cultured meat. Whether or not the Wagyu brand can be used for the cultivated meat will depend on the direction of future rule-making, but it seems that the consortium wants to use the Wagyu brand as well. In addition, Itoham Yonekyu is in charge of safety evaluation and taste evaluation of cultured meat. For safety evaluation, equipment analysis is currently used to check for residual pesticides, radioactive substances, and microbial contamination, but in the future, it is also considering safety evaluation by human consumption. After confirming the safety, we plan to conduct a taste evaluation by sensory evaluation in cooperation with Shimadzu Corporation.
3D printing uses “bioink”, which is made by culturing muscle, fat, and blood vessel cells obtained from cows and combining them with a collagen-derived matrix. The development of this bioink will proceed through collaboration within the consortium. Collagen is currently used for research purposes and not for food, but it is planned to replace it with edible collagen in the future. In addition, currently cultured meat does not have the red color of blood, and is colored after production. In addition, we will develop a method to make muscle fibers thicker and stronger, and a method to express myoglobin in cultured meat and color it.