Sunday, February 19, 2012

Test Tube Burgers Coming Soon

By generating strips of meat from stem cells researchers think they can create a test tube burger that is identical to a real burger.
Professor Mark Post of Maastricht University in the Netherlands has been growing small strips of muscle tissue (photo above) from a pig's stem cells, using a serum taken from a horse.  (yummy)

Speaking at the American Academy for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) annual meeting in Vancouver the good Professor said his team has successfully replicated the process with cow cells and calf serum, bringing the first artificial burger a step closer.
He said: "In October we are going to provide a proof of concept showing out of stem cells we can make a product that looks, feels and hopefully tastes like meat."

Making a complete burger will require 3,000 strips of muscle tissue and that takes six weeks to produce.
The meat will then be ground up with 200 strips of fat tissue, produced in the same way, to make a hamburger.
To produce the meat, stem cells are placed in a broth containing vital nutrients and serum from a cow fetus which allow them to grow into muscle cells and multiply up to 30 times.
The strips of meat begin contracting like real muscle cells, and are attached to velcro and stretched to boost this process and keep them supple.
At the moment the method produces meat with realistic fibres and a pinkish-yellow color, but professor Post expects to create more authentically colored strips in the near future.
But creating different cuts, such as steaks, would be more problematic because to grow thicker strips of meat would require an artificial blood supply, he added. (yikes)

Professor Frankenstein Post plans to ask Heston Blumenthal to cook the meat when it's fully created.
The only person who has tasted the lab-grown meat so far is a Russian journalist who declared himself unimpressed.