Tuesday, May 14, 2013
€250,000 test-tube burger served soon in London
The Verge reports: [edited]
A hamburger created from bovine stem cells will soon be served in London. The €250,000 (roughly $325,000) burger is the result of years of research led by Dr. Mark Post in the Netherlands, who hopes to show the world that so-called "in-vitro meat" could become a viable food source.
The burger was crafted using cells from the neck of a slaughterhouse cow and techniques developed for the creation of organs. Stem cells have the ability to turn into a multitude of other cells, including the muscle cells needed for the burger meat. Dr. Post's team used tens of billions of muscle cells to create 20,000 thin strips of cultured muscle tissue, which amount to a quarter-pounder. Although his in-vitro burger has no fat, Dr. Post assures The New York Times that it tastes "reasonably good."
In the future, Dr. Post believes the cost of in-vitro meats will come down significantly, but admits there are major hurdles that will have to be solved by the scientific community before the mass production of meat could start. One hurdle isn't scientific, but cultural: persuading society that meat grown in a lab is safe to eat is a tall order.