The Dutch team who have grown the world’s first burger in a lab say they hope to have a product on sale in five years.
Whether or not we should continue to eat meat is an increasingly hot topic – its alleged impact on the climate and the ethical issues surrounding intensive farming have left many disillusioned with the carnivore’s diet.
But scientists believe that they have a viable alternative that doesn’t involve sacrificing your steak for Quorn or lentils.
A Dutch team claim that their lab-grown burger made from bovine stem cells could be on sale within five years.
They have even set up a company in a bid to make the burger taste better and cheaper to produce.
The production of meat through tissue culture could have immense effects in reducing the environmental impact of our agriculture system, minimizing threats to public health, addressing issues of animal welfare, and providing food security.
In 2013, the team cooked and ate a burger that cost £215,000 to produce.
The 142g ‘cultured beef’ patty, developed at Maastricht University, was lightly fried in a little butter and sunflower oil and took three months to grow in a laboratory, using cells from a living cow.
The burgers are created in a four-step process. First, stem cells — which have the power to turn into any other cell — are stripped from cow muscle, which is taken during a harmless biopsy.
Next, the cells are incubated in a nutrient ‘broth’ until they multiply many times over, creating a sticky tissue.
This is then bulked up through the laboratory equivalent of exercise — it is anchored to Velcro and stretched.
Finally, 20,000 strips of the meat are minced and mixed with salt, breadcrumbs, egg powder and natural red colourants to form an edible patty.
The head of the new firm, Peter Verstrate, said in an interview: ‘I feel extremely excited about the prospect of this product being on sale.”
‘I am confident that we will have it on the market in five years,’ he said.
WHO IS SERGEY BRIN?
- It has just been revealed that Sergey Brin is one of the financial backers of the test-tube burger.
- Mr Brin is an American computer scientist and Internet entrepreneur who, with Larry Page, co-founded Google.
- Together with Page, he owns 16 per cent of the internet search giant.
- His personal wealth is estimated to be £13.2bn in 2012.
- He and Page previously invested in a large offshore wind farm in 2010 and a self-driving car in a bid to reduce road accidents via Google’s philanthropic arm.
- It is believed that Mr Brin invested £215,000 in the creation of the burger.
- Mr Brin has also invested in Space Adventures – the private space tourism company that is selling £65 million trips to the Moon.
- He has also previously worked with film director James Cameron to investigate mining asteroids and has an interest in solving the world’s energy and climate problems.
He set out his plans to BBC News ahead of a symposium on developing the technology.
He went on to explain that the ‘meat’ would initially only be available as an exclusive product but would be on supermarket shelves once a demand and reasonable price had been established.
The burger does still require considerable work before it can sold commercially, however.
Tasters at the 2013 event described the meat as tough.
‘I was expecting the texture to be more soft,’ said Austrian food researcher Hanni Rutzler, taking 27 chews before being able to swallow a mouthful. ‘It’s close to meat — it’s not that juicy.’
Professor Mark Post spent seven years trying to turn stem cells into meat, and was first successful with mouse burgers.
He then tried to grow pork — producing strips with the rubbery texture of squid or scallops — before settling on beef.
His technique, he says, can be used to recreate the flesh of most animals, including rare species such as tigers or pandas, although demand may be questionable.
The initial project was backed by Google co-founder Sergey brin.
At the time of the 2013 demonstration he said he was confident that man-made meat would do a great deal to help humanity.
In a video message played to attendees, he said: ‘Sometimes when technology comes along, it has the capability to transform how we view our world.
‘I like to look at technology opportunities. When technology seems like it is on the cusp of viability and if it succeeds there, it can be really transformative for the world.’
‘There are basically three things that can happen going forward – one is that we can all become vegetarian. I don’t think that’s really likely.
‘The second is we ignore the issues and that leads to continued environmental harm and the third option is we do something new.
‘Some people think this is science fiction – it’s not real, it’s somewhere out there. I actually think that’s a good thing.’
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“Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed”- Luke 17:28-30 (KJV).
”..Keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so-called: Which some professing have erred concerning the faith…”-1 Timothy 6:20-21 (KJV).
And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not- 2 Peter 2:2-3 (KJV).
While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage – 2 Peter 2:19 (KJV).
“And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man.” Luke 17:26 (KJV)
And whereas thou sawest iron mixed with miry clay, they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men: but they shall not cleave one to another, even as iron is not mixed with clay -Daniel 2:43 (KJV).