Labeled as ‘cultured meat’ by scientists, new meat grown in laboratory Petri dishes utilizing animal stem cells may soon be coming to a grocery store near you — and perhaps even your dinner plate.
Scientists and advocates are pushing the new meat as a method of tackling world hunger, savings the lives of animals, the environment, and conserving resources.
The cost of creating the meat, however, is quite outlandish. The first Petri dish hamburger will cost around 250,000 euros to create, according to Mark Post, a vascular biologist at the University of Maastricht in the Netherlands.
‘The first one will be a proof of concept, just to show it’s possible,’ Post told Reuters in a telephone interview from his Maastricht lab. ‘I believe I can do this in the coming year.
Slaughterhouse animal stem cells used to make cultured meat
The meat is created using harvested stem cells from leftover animal material found in slaughterhouses. Fed a concoction of sugars, amino acids, lipids, minerals and all other nutrients necessary for the stem cells to grow, the cells begin the transformation into full-fledged Petri dish meat.
So far Post has produced whitish pale muscle-like strips from this process, extremely thin and around 1 inch long. The strips are almost see-through, and do not look much like meat. Since the meat lacks blood, the meat also is short on color. In fact, it looks similar to the flesh of scallops. Post plans to combine 3,000 of these strips and add lab-grown fat in order to create his hamburger.
‘This first one will be grown in an academic lab, by highly trained academic staff,’ he said. ‘It’s hand-made and it’s time and labour-intensive, that’s why it’s so expensive to produce.’
At the moment, the meat is also quite unpleasing to the taste buds. As Post continues to tweak the lab-grown meat, he plans to utilize lab-grown fat to enhance flavor.
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