Eating the world’s first cultured burger
No animals were hurt in the production of this hamburger! A slice of history was served this morning in London when the world’s first test-tube burger, created at a cost of some €250 000 from lab-grown meat, was cooked and eaten. [Click to enlarge]
The experiment was the brainchild of Mark Post, a medical physiologist at Maastricht University in the Netherlands. He believes it could herald a food revolution, with artificial meat products appearing in supermarkets in as little as 10 years.
First the stem cells are cultivated in a nutrient broth, allowing them to proliferate 30-fold.
Next they are combined with an elastic collagen and attached to Velcro “anchor points” in a culture dish. Between the anchor points, the cells self-organise into chunks of muscle.
Electrical stimulation is then used to make the muscle strips contract and “bulk up” – the laboratory equivalent of working out in a gym.
Finally the thousands of beef strips are minced up, together with 200 pieces of lab-grown animal fat, and moulded into a patty. Around 20,000 meat strands are needed to make one 5oz burger.
Other non-meat ingredients include salt, egg powder, and breadcrumbs. Red beetroot juice and saffron are added to provide authentic beef colouring.
The burger was cooked by chef Richard McGowan, from Cornwall, and tasted by food critics Hanni Ruetzler and Josh Schonwald.
Upon tasting the burger, Austrian food researcher Ruetzler said: “I was expecting the texture to be more soft… there is quite some intense taste; it’s close to meat, but it’s not that juicy. The consistency is perfect, but I miss salt and pepper.”
She added: “This is meat to me. It’s not falling apart.”
Food writer Schonwald said: “The mouthfeel is like meat. I miss the fat, there’s a leanness to it, but the general bite feels like a hamburger.
“What was consistently different was flavour.”
Prof Mark Post (left), of Maastricht University, the scientist behind the burger, remarked: “It’s a very good start.”
Sergey Brin, co-founder of Google, has been revealed as the project’s mystery backer.
See more on cultured meat here….
Cultured Beef website: http://culturedbeef.net
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