According to a joint poster presentation at the 5th Cellular Agriculture Conference by Professor Noriya Matsuzaki and his team from Osaka University, Toppan Printing, Shimadzu Corporation and Itoham, the taste of cultured meat still needs some improvement. Prof. Matsuzaki and his colleagues have developed technology to produce cultured meat using a 3D printer. Muscle satellite cells and fat stem cells are printed in linear form by 3D printing and differentiated and cultured, respectively, to create fibers lined with cells. Now, the team examined the color and aroma components of cultured beef. When they grilled 1.5 cm3 cubes of cultured meat in a frying pan, they found that the meat looked almost the same as cooked beef livestock, and “the aroma of roasting meat, like that of grilled chicken, spread throughout the surrounding area”. However, as the cultured meat was colored reddish with cochineal, an edible dye, it did not change color in the same way as when beef of livestock origin was grilled. When the aroma components produced from the cultured beef during cooking were analyzed by GC-MS, approximately 60 different components were detected, including aldehydes and alcohols. Five of these components were found in beef of livestock origin, including γ-nonalactone, an aroma component unique to Wagyu beef. The amount of aroma components of printed meat was lower than that of beef derived from livestock.
In order to reproduce the color change with heating and the aroma of livestock beef upon heating, the research team will now examine different culture conditions for muscle satellite cells and adipose stem cells. Regarding color, they will work to improve the expression of myoglobin. As for the aroma, they will increase the number of cells per weight of meat and the maturity of muscle and fat cells. In addition to aroma, the research team will also analyze the amino acid content, fatty acid content, and the proteome of cultured meat.