Coming in October: Testtube hamburgers!

Last Updated: Monday, February 20, 2012 - 13:28

London: Scientists have claimed they would serve the world`s first testtube hamburger this October.

A team, led by Prof Mark Post of Maastricht University in the Netherlands, says it has already grown artificial meat in the laboratory, and now aims to create a hamburger, identical to a real stuff, by generating strips of meat from stem cells.

The finished product is expected to cost nearly 220,000 pounds, `The Daily Telegraph` reported. Prof Post said his team has successfully replicated the process with cow cells and calf serum, bringing the first artificial burger a step closer.

"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," he was quoted by the
British newspaper as saying.

Although it is possible to extract a limited number of stem cells from cows without killing them, the scientists say the most efficient way of taking the process forward would
still involve slaughter.

He said: "Eventually my vision is that you have a limited herd of donor animals in the world that you keep in stock and that you get your cells form there. Each animal will be able to produce about a million times more meat through the lab- based technique than through traditional method of butchery."

According to the scientists, making a complete burger will require 3,000 strips of muscle tissue, each of which measures about three cm long by 1.5 cm wide, with a thickness
of half-a-millimetre and 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 foetus 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 tinge, but the scientists expect to produce more authentically coloured strips in near future.

The project, funded by a wealthy and anonymous individual aims to slash the number of cattle farmed for food, and in doing so reduce one of the major contributors to greenhouse gas emissions.

PTI



First Published: Monday, February 20, 2012 - 13:28

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