In a much-anticipated event, the first lab-grown beef burger
has been cooked and eaten at an event in London.
The burger was made from muscle cells taken from the shoulder of a cow, which were then grown in a laboratory into muscle tissue, the main component of the meat we eat.
The public tasting session was the culmination of a two-year project,
funded by Google co-founder Sergey Brin, and undertaken by Dutch researcher Professor Mark Post of Maastritch University.
Lab-grown beef can be produced with fewer greenhouse gas emissions, less water and less energy than traditional beef, according to researchers. It also avoids the slaughter of animals.
“I hope it will show ‘cultured beef’ has the answers to major problems that the world faces,” said Professor Post, who added that he was pleased with how it tasted. Others at the tasting session said it had a meat-like texture, but lacked juiciness.
Google co-founder Sergey Brin said the lab-grown burger
could be a transformative technology. “There are basically three things that can happen going forward. One is that we all become vegetarian. I don’t think that’s really likely. The second is we ignore the issues and that leads to continued environmental harm, and the third option is we do something new.
"Sometimes when technology comes along, it has the capability to transform how we view our world. I like to look at technology opportunities. When technology seems like it is on the cusp of viability and if it suceeds there, it can be really transformative for the world," he said.
Professor Post has suggested it would take another 10-20 years for a commercially-viable product to be developed. However, with no funding yet in place for the next stage of research, the likelihood of a lab-grown burger making it onto our supermarket shelves is still far from certain.