Google Burger: Scientists cook world’s first lab-grown, in-vitro hamburger
2013 08 05
By Kate Kelland | Reuters
A corner of west London will see culinary and scientific history made on Monday when scientists cook and serve up the world’s first lab-grown beef burger.
The in-vitro burger, cultured from cattle stem cells, the first example of what its creator says could provide an answer to global food shortages and help combat climate change, will be fried in a pan and tasted by two volunteers.
The world’s first lab-grown burger was created from cow stem cells in the lab of Dutch scientist Mark Post at a cost of $330,000.
The burger is the result of years of research by Dutch scientist Mark Post, a vascular biologist at the University of Maastricht, who is working to show how meat grown in petri dishes might one day be a true alternative to meat from livestock.
The meat in the burger has been made by knitting together around 20,000 strands of protein that has been cultured from cattle stem cells in Post’s lab.
The tissue is grown by placing the cells in a ring, like a donut, around a hub of nutrient gel, Post explained.
To prepare the burger, scientists combined the cultured beef with other ingredients normally used in burgers, such as salt, breadcrumbs and egg powder. Red beet juice and saffron have been added to bring out its natural colors.
“Our burger is made from muscle cells taken from a cow. We haven’t altered them in any way,” Post said in a statement on Friday. “For it to succeed it has to look, feel and hopefully taste like the real thing.”
Success, in Post’s view, would mean not just a tasty burger, but also the prospect of finding a sustainable, ethical and environmentally friendly alternative to meat production.
According to a 2006 report by the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), industrialized agriculture contributes on a “massive scale” to climate change, air pollution, land degradation, energy use, deforestation and biodiversity decline.
The report, entitled Livestock’s Long Shadow, said the meat industry contributes about 18 percent of global greenhouse-gas emissions and this proportion is expected to grow as consumers in fast-developing countries such as China and India eat more meat.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), annual meat production is projected to rise to 376 million metric tons by 2030 from 218 million metric tons in 1997-1999, and demand from a growing world population is expected to rise beyond that.
Post cites FAO figures suggesting demand for meat is expected to increase by more than two-thirds by 2050.
Animal welfare campaigners applauded the arrival of cultured meat and predicted a great future for it.
“In vitro technology will spell the end of lorries full of cows and chickens, abattoirs and factory farming,” the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) campaign group said in a statement. “It will reduce carbon emissions, conserve water and make the food supply safer.”
Read the full article at: rawstory.com
"The world’s first test tube burger, costing a whopping £250,000, has been unveiled in London. The 5oz patty - made from lab-grown "cultured beef" - was dished up by its creator, Professor Mark Post, before journalists in Hammersmith, in the west of the capital. The scientist-turned-chef made the most expensive beefburger in history from 20,000 tiny strips of meat grown from cow stem cells over a three-month period.
The billionaire co-founder of Google, Sergey Brin, put £215,000 of his own money towards the research, saying he was doing it for "animal welfare reasons".
Few details of the slice of culinary and scientific history were released ahead of the tasting.
Chef Richard McGeown fried the burger in sunflower oil and a knob of butter before it was sampled by Josh Schonwald, author of The Taste of Tomorrow and food scientist Hanni Rutzler.
Ms Rutzler said it was "close to meat" but she was expecting the texture to be softer and it wasn’t very juicy.
Mr Schonwald said the "absence is the fat ... it’s a leanness to it but the bite feels like a conventional hamburger"."
Test-tube burger’s secret backer revealed: Google’s Sergey Brin
Who would spend thousands of dollars on a burger? Google founder Sergey Brin, one of the world’s richest people, that’s who.
To be fair, the burger is the first to be made from artificial beef, grown from a stem-cell culture in a lab. The patty, developed by Maastricht University professor Mark Post, got its first airing — and eating — in London on Monday. In a video, Brin explained why he’d invested in the 250,000-euro ($330,000) project, which hopes to eventually relieve the strain on the environment of the growing demand for meat.
“I like to look at technology opportunities where the technology seems like it’s on the cusp of our ability. And if it succeeds there, it can be transformative for the world,” Brin said.
The 39-year-old Google co-founder has a history of investing into science-fiction-sounding projects. Brin has put money into Space Adventures, which sells trips to the moon for $100 million, and, along with fellow Google founder Larry Page, film director James Cameron and others, is behind the Planetary Resources project to develop a way to mine asteroids for metals.
“If what you’re doing is not seen by some people as science fiction, it’s probably not transformative enough,” Brin said in the Department of Expansion video.
Read the full article at: marketwatch.com
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