A Dutch researcher has succeeded in growing an edible burger from test-tube meat. There is still a long way to go before the product is ready for mass production, but the first step has been taken.
The first burger made from test-tube meat that was completely grown in the laboratory was presented in London. Responsible for this is the Dutch scientist Mark Post from Maastricht University, who pulled the test-tube meat from a calf fetus with the help of stem cells from a live cow and a nutrient solution. The result was a burger weighing around 140 grams that cost 250,000 euros. The retort meat consisted of around 20,000 strips of meat that were approximately 13 millimeters long and one millimeter thick. It took six weeks for the laboratory product to become an almost real burger, because the small strips had to be pressed together, mixed with salt, egg powder and breadcrumbs and colored with beetroot juice and saffron. The test-tube meat was presented on a British television program; the test eaters included the US nutritionist Josh Schonwald and the Austrian food researcher Hanni Rützler. She appreciated the consistency of the laboratory burger and found it “came close to meat”, even if the fat-free test-tube meat was not quite as juicy. Mark Post hopes that the artificially bred meat will soon be able to serve as an equal meat substitute for numerous people and solve important environmental and nutritional problems. Factory farming and a lack of grazing land could soon be a thing of the past. Of course, the product is still far too expensive for mass production, but with technical progress and falling production costs, Post and his team estimate that the first burgers made from retort meat could be freely available in stores in ten to twenty years.