In 2016, Canadian biophysicist Andrew Pelling and his team at the University of Ottawa successfully grew human tissue using apples. Using a decellularization technique to remove existing cells from the apple, they were left with the apple’s cellulose “scaffolding.” By the way, that cellulose is what gives apples their satisfying crunch.
Pelling and his team cut out an ear-shaped piece of cell-free apple and injected it with human cells. The cells populated the structure and created an auricle (the outer part of the ear).
The motivation for the experiment was to create cheaper implants. According to Pelling, his lab-grown material is also less problematic than conventional biological materials used for implants, which often come from animals or dead bodies.
This technique isn’t limited to apples. He’s also looked at replicating his findings in flower petals, asparagus, and other vegetables.