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Redefine Meat Uncovers How its Plant-Based Tissue Engineering Tech Mimics Meat in New White Paper

Redefine Meat has published a manuscript in Frontiers that reveals the technology and science behind its plant-based New Meat products.

Authored by Daniel Dikovsky, Redefine Meat’s CTO, the paper introduces the company’s novel Plant-Based Tissue Engineering (PBTE) approach to demonstrate how it effectively replicates “the mechanical integrity, texture, and sensory attributes of traditional meat.”

According to Dikovsky, meat is among the most challenging foods to replicate, as it encompasses a complex matrix of muscle fibers, fat, and connective tissues that contribute to its unique taste, texture, and overall sensory experience.

The manuscript showcases how manipulating plant-based materials at the microstructural level can create complex, multi-component systems that closely resemble meat. According to the author, this approach aligns with Soft Matter principles, which focus on manipulating structures and materials to mimic naturally occurring designs, which in this case is meat tissue.

alternative protein market company serves a 3d printed steak
© Redefine Meat

Replicating the components of meat

PBTE leverages principles of tissue engineering and advanced food manufacturing technologies to deconstruct meat into its fundamental components: muscle, fat, and connective tissue. 

Using this principle, a plant-based whole cut is created by reconstructing these components using a blend of plant proteins, fats, and polysaccharide materials (safe and compliant for consumption) at various scales and assembly methods.

To mimic the fibrous structure, Redefine Meat’s approach involves disintegrating textured vegetable protein (TVP) into fibers and blending them with proteinous dough.

“The muscle component is reassembled to mimic the anisotropic fibrous structure of beef, while the fat component is engineered through lipid encapsulation within a hydrocolloid matrix,” explains the paper.

Redefine Meat products launching in UK retail
© Redefine Meat

Assembling beef and other meats

Advanced manufacturing techniques, including additive manufacturing such as 3D printing and robotics, are utilized to configure and assemble muscle, fat, and connective tissue precisely (made with different plant ingredients), mimicking the fibrous structure of beef and ensuring the desired texture and sensory attributes.

These techniques allow for precise spatial configuration of muscle and fat components, producing a wide range of meat analogs.

The Plant-Based Tissue Engineering approach is not limited to beef. It can be extended to mimic a wide range of meat products by analyzing the characteristics of tissues and their organization, followed by a digital assembly of each product to fine-tune the plant-based analogs accordingly.  

However, Dikovsky points out that further analysis of tensile behavior, shear behavior, and sensory analysis is necessary to create products that are more appealing to consumers.

Tenderloin steak Redefine Meat
Tenderloin ©Redefine Meat

High-quality plant-based meat

Since Plant-Based Tissue Engineering allows the creation of plant-based meat, including whole cuts, that closely replicates the sensory experience of animal meat, Dikovsky argues that it has the potential to cater to a broader consumer base, including flexitarians and meat-eaters.

Furthermore, if the demand for meat alternatives continues to rise because consumers like the products, the technology will contribute to developing a  sustainable food system. Dikovsky argues that PBTE is a promising method of production that has the potential to reduce the environmental footprint of meat production significantly. 

“This is the first article introducing the concept of ‘Plant-based Tissue Engineering’ – a term we’ve coined to capture the approach to creating plant-based products that closely resemble complex meats, like beef steaks. We’re full of hope that sharing and publishing this knowledge will promote further research in this field and help enhance the quality of animal-free meats in the market,” Dikovsky shared on social media.

Redefine Meat has raised $135m to expand globally. It has partnered with Giraudi Meats, Europe’s largest meat importer. Over 4,000 European food service outlets offer Redefine Meat products: Redefine Premium Burger, Lamb Kofta, Beef Mince, Pulled Beef, Pulled Pork, Bratwurst, Merguez Sausage, and Beef Flank.

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