Meat And Fish to be 3D Printed On Board of ISS

As part of a new experiment, space bioprinter builder 3D Bioprinting Solutions (3DBio) plans to send beef and fish cells to the International Space Station (ISS) by August 2019. This experiment is called to help find solutions for providing astronauts with food during long-term flights

The 3D bioprinter is built to grow meat from muscle cells in zero gravity conditions. In December 2018, a 3D bioprinter was installed on the ISS, and by now, the on-board international expert team have printed a murine thyroid gland and human cartilage tissue. The structure of the tissue obtained is fully consistent with the norms. The resulting samples were transported to Earth for further research currently carried out in laboratories on Earth. In the future, the results of this research will set the grounds for new generation experiments in regenerative medicine

According to the project manager at the 3DBio biotechnical laboratory, Usef Hesuani, the company is working in partnership with one Israeli and three American startups engaged in technological developments that will enable 3D printing of large amounts of living cells. Two of these startups are working with beef cells, one, with blue tuna cells, and one, with salmon cells. At present, they provide 3D Bioprint with biological material for test procedures to determine cells most suitable to model on 3D bioprinter. Packed in individual cuvettes, the selected samples will travel to the orbit. Further experiments on the ISS will be aimed at obtaining muscle structures from cells.

“The basic idea is to create self-reproducing meat, self-reproducing food. We can cultivate cells, the cells will divide right on the ISS, but getting muscle cells doesn’t mean getting meat,” Usef Hesuani explained.

The company also plans to send synthetic ceramics-based materials to the ISS to be used for generating bone tissue. Thus, experiments with the 3D printer will utilize these materials instead of living cells: it has been found that in space conditions such materials manifest properties of living tissues, which presents a great interest for scientific research.

Ivan Cheberko