Modern Meadow, the company that hopes to bring 3D-bioprinted steaks to market, says its real short term game is in creating lab-grown leather. In an interview with Scientific American, CEO Andras Forgacs spoke about the company’s 3D-printing projects.
“Our emphasis first is not on meat, it’s on leather,” says Forgacs. “The main reason is that, technically, skin is a simpler structure than meat, making it easier to produce.”
Bringing leather to market will also be easier as far as regulation is concerned. Forgacs says it will likely take 10 years for 3D-printed meat to end up on our plates, while 3D-bioprinted leather could be here as soon as 2017.
The technique to make leather involves taking punch biopsies of donor animals, growing the cells to billions in number, letting the cell layers fuse together in “bioassembly,” then placing them in a bioreactor to mature. It should please PETA, of course, and will perhaps be a nice alternative; but does anyone really want to eat Modern Meadows’ meat after learning how the cells are grown now?
If they can make a nice boot out of this lab leather, however, then I’m in. This should also be a boon to the BDSM industry.
Bring out the gimp!