The test-tube burger is coming soon

Posted by David Gomez

Scientists claim the first test-tube burger will be ready in about a year.

According to The Daily Mail, the scientists think the engineered burgers would lead to consumers being able to eat meat without animals being killed.

But you have to wonder, will beef mince grown from stem cells be popular with the burger crowd?

The Dutch scientists behind the meat-like development are predicting that the world’s population will increase tremendously over the next couple of decades. They don’t think that there will be enough livestock to feed everyone.

They say that the livestock shortage could cause laboratory-grown beef, chicken and lamb to become a normal occurrence at mealtime

Right now the scientists are working on a burger that will be grown from 10,000 stem cells taken from cattle, which are then kept in the lab to multiply more than a billion times. The multiplying cells produce muscle tissue that is similar to beef.

They call it "in vitro" meat.

Mark Post, professor of physiology at Maastricht University in the Netherlands, who is behind the project, said: "I don’t see any way you could rely on old-fashioned livestock in the coming decades.

"In vitro meat will be the only choice left.

"We are trying to prove to the world we can make a product out of this, and we need a courageous person who is willing to be the first to taste it. If no one comes forward then it might be me.”

He said to Scientific American magazine that he thought the first burger could be produced within 12 months.

Scientists from the same university cultivated strips of pork using the same method in 2009. They acknowledged that it was not very pleasant, seeing as how it was grey with a comparable texture to calamari. In a New York laboratory fish fillets have been grown using cells taken from goldfish muscle tissue.

The scientists are convinced that the public will get used to laboratory meat, even if it tastes like crap. Why? Because they don’t think that people will have a choice soon.

A colleague of Professor Post said: "When we are eating a hamburger we don’t think, 'I’m eating a dead cow.' And when people are already far from what they eat, it’s not too hard to see them accepting cultured meat."

It’s predicted that the world’s meat consumption will double by 2050 as the population increases.

The current world leader in artificial meat production is Holland. The Dutch government has put $2,398,200 into the research. The scientists involved in the lab meat think that the test-tube burger is just the first stage in a food revolution that might be able to solve the problem.

At Utrecht University researchers have calculated that ten stem cells could produce 50,000 tons of meat in two months.

A study at Oxford University found that this method would use 35-60 percent less energy, 98 percent less land and create 80-95 percent less greenhouse gas than traditional farming.

Still, it sounds pretty awful for many reasons. What do you think?