Since 2008, Dr. Mark Post has been working on growing edible meat in a laboratory. Today, at an event in London, the first in-vitro hamburger has been served.
Muscle stem cells were taken from a cow's shoulder in a gentle biopsy and grown in calf serum, with micro-exercise so they wouldn't be flabby. 20,000 cells were then assembled into a burger, bound with bread crumbs and egg (but curiously no salt), colored with beet juice and saffron, and presented to the public. The event was also broadcast on Culturedbeef.net.
Dr. Post, a cardiovascular biologist from Maastricht University, brought his raw burger out, in a petri dish under a cloche. On a television set, chef Richard McGeown, opining that it looked a little paler than normal, cooked it in butter and oil before a hungry audience, then served it to two lucky volunteers: Austrian food futurist Hanni Rützler, and Josh Schonwald, author of The Taste of Tomorrow.
Hanni: "There is quite some intense taste. It is close to meat; it is not that juicy. I missed salt and pepper. More than I expected of the the structure, it's not falling apart."
Josh: "The texture, the mouthfeel, has a feel like meat. The absence is the fat. It's a leanness. But the bite feels like a conventional hamburger."
The technology to grow fat cells is still lacking -- Schonfeld characterized the texture as like "an animal protein cake" -- but that is the next step for the team. "I think it's a very good start," said Dr. Post. "This was mostly to prove that we can make it."
The following challenge will be to scale up the process. Dr. Post currently estimates that it will take 10 to 20 years before cultured meat can be mass-produced. For the last few years, the project has been funded by an anonymous benefactor who, Dr. Post revealed today, is Sergey Brin.
Dr. Post answered some other questions from the audience.
Can you make a steak? In theory. "We are currently focusing on minced meat products, using shorter fibers, because there is a limitation on the diffusion distance of oxygen and nutrients into the center of the tissue."
Can they use this technology to make burgers from less common animals? Penguins? "I don't like the smell of penguins, but I guess we can. You can do it with any sort of satellite cell from an animal."
The leftovers were taken home for Dr. Post's children.
well with any new product, lets see what happens to the first few people who eat this.
if no ones dies, i'll have one.
but if we successfully, start growing meat, then what do we do with all of our live stock?
obviously, there would be no purpose in keeping animals meant for food.
will the vegetarians jump on board? "Save the seals, choose invitro."
Thats the name brand I'll choose, "Tasty Invitro Meats" or "TIM's"
Beef, chicken, or Exotic: how do you like your TIM's?
Aw crap - I better get to the copyright/trademark office
I called it. Copyright.
One step closer to Soylent Green?
what about human burgers
Even if that DID qualify as a hamburger, and I don't think it does, you couldn't get me to eat it.
Now vegans have no excuse! Haha just kidding, but this is an amazing technology I think we can all appreciate. I'm excited for the day I can enjoy a nice juicy hamburger without having to kill something for it.
I thought of a name: "Grown Meat".
(which would be analogous to freedom eggs, organic foods, etc, and would signify any real meat that has not been taken from animals, but grown).
Or "Growth Meat"
We can't just keep ading more and more cattle, pigs, chickens, ect. The amount of livestock we have now has a large environmental impact. This could be a viable alternative to supplement our food supply, cheers.
yea sure say good bye to all those cows why raise em when you can brew them ( i assume cheaper) sooo except for the amish and mennonites and zoos and peta freaks cows will go extinct, well we might keep a herd for genetic improvement i suppose
Hi welcome to Petri-Burger! Would you like to try our new Bald Eagle petri-nuggets?
Sounds great! Does it have less purines that a regular hamburger(I suffer from chronic gout)?
Two issues first doesn't tissue culture require fetal bovine serum and wouldn't the Hayflick limit be a problem?
usually, i do champion scientific endeavor and progress being an engineer myself and on occasion I too frown down emphatically on some frivolous tech like the 'Glassified' new-age Ruler (http://www.popsci.com/technology/article/2013-08/must-be-best-ruler-ever-invented#comment-174161) or the clearly bad math in a PopSci endorsed project with the unlikely name of "Slingatron." -- But this, lab-grown protein, I can most certainly jibe with this. It's about time methinks. This is the future, for better or worst. In the right hands of a food processing major, it would perhaps contest any "naturally-sourced" protein in both nutritional values and taste. Carry on lads and lassies! Forward and onward!
Woot woot!!! Now this is some great technology! Over 40% of our man made greenhouse methane comes from livestock for food. With an exponentially growing population of 8.3 billion, there isn't enough feed in the world to keep that number of cattle, pigs and chicken up to compete with the growing demand. This is certainly good news! We can reduce the number of livestock and stop KILLING helpless animals!!! I'll take a G-burger please!!!! Make it "rare" since I doubt mad-cow disease will ever be a byproduct. :)
"Do not try and bend the spoon. That is impossible. Only try and realize the truth - there is no spoon."
I don't want anymore ALTERED FOODS being made, we have enough people dying of CANCER & other processed food ailments for a lifetime?
I have been listening to some of the "experts" on the lab grown hamberger. One of them was claiming that a cow uses 28 calories of grass to make a calorie of beef and that the lab process is "One calorie in, one calorie out."
What a load of "Bull Sh--."
Anyone who works in a lab knows that no process is 100% efficient.
Those 28 calories of grass the cow uses to make a calorie of beef are mostly celuloise, a long chain poly-sacaride that is indigestable to humans and most other mammals.
What scares me is what if this technology catches on and undercuts farm and ranch meat, producing tens or hundreds of TONS a day from a single vat, and some psycho or terrorist contaminates the vat with the Sheep Scrapie, Mad Cow Disease, Kuru, or Croitzfeld-Jacobs Disease prion?
Tens of millions of people could be infected with an incurable, fatal disease that is so infectious that we must destroy the instruments used in patient autopsies because they can not be disinfected.
This technology might be okay for a Mars colony or a deep space voyage.
1) Not efficient - The current growth medium is made from butchered calves. That means the original grass or grain must be fed to a cow first and then the unused food value that remains in the blood of the calf after slaughter is available for meat production, plus some additionally highly processed nutrients.
2) Amoral - While the cow had a "gentle biopsy" the calves didn't have it so nice when their blood was extracted. This is a bit of a deal killer for vegans or those morally opposed to killing sentient animals for food.
I see where this can have value if a non-animal growth medium could be developed. As long as the growth medium production does not require even more productive land to produce the cultured meat than actually running animals on the land.
Even as a vegetarian I realize that animals as a food source leverage land that is not possible to efficiently cultivate.
Let's just get to the point where it is more efficient than ranching and not dependent on a slaughterhouse before we start jumping up and down with joy..
"Bio meat" seems like a good enough name. And it's probably what it will end up being called anyway.
Called it, 11 august 2013 :)