Anuradha ShettyAug 06, 2013 17:25:07 IST
Until less than a year ago, the idea of a “lab-made” beef burger would have seemed alien, almost ridiculous to the common man. But three months time was all it took for Dr Mark Post of the Maastricht University to defy the odds. For all of those who’re a little late to this party, Dr Post has prepared a beef burger in his lab using muscle stem cells. In fact, his dish was even shown off and promptly tasted at an event in London recently.
Would you like your stem cells well done? (Representation picture)
The Guardian reports that Hanni Rutzler of the Future Food Studio was the one who got to bite into this synthetic beef hamburger first. One of Rutzler’s first observations was that the texture of the beef patty wasn’t exactly soft. While she did not miss out on the obvious lack of fat in the burger, Rutzler added that if she would’ve tasted it with her eyes closed, she would’ve thought that it was meat after all “rather than a vegetable-based substitute".
To give the hamburger its final look and feel, Dr Post used fibres grown in his lab and bound them together. These fibres were then given that colour using beetroot juice and a dash of saffron.
Finally, it was Richard McGeown of Couch's Great House Restaurant in Polperro, Cornwall, who cooked the beef patty using a little butter and sunflower oil. He said that the beef burger “was slight more pale” than the ones he was used to cooking. However, he added that it cooked like any other burger, and that it “was suitably aromatic and looked inviting.”
Interestingly, it was none other than Google co-founder Sergey Brin who financed this entire project; he extended an impressive €250,000 towards it. Dr Post used that money to grow 20,000 muscle fibres from cow stem cells for a period of three months.
“These fibres were extracted from individual culture wells and then painstakingly pressed together to form the hamburger that was eaten on Monday. The objective is to create meat that is biologically identical to beef but grown in a lab rather than in a field as part of a cow,” added the report.
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