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Tasting the €250,000 test-tube burger

Monday, Aug 05, 2013 - 02:40

Aug. 05 - A slice of history is served up as the world's first test-tube burger, made from lab-grown meat, is cooked and eaten in London. Hayley Platt asks if artifcial food will be the answer to food shortages.

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It cost a mouth-watering quarter of a million euros to make and wasn't produced like any other burger. . It was grown in a test tube by Dutch scientist Mark Post. SOUNDBITE: Mark Post, Professor of Physiology, Maastricht University, saying (English): "We take a few cells from a cow, muscle specific stem cells that can only become muscle. There's very little we have to do to make these cells do the right thing. They divide by themselves and if we provide those anchor points for future tendons they will self organize into muscle. So a few cells that we take from this cow can turn into ten tons of meat." Each burger is made from 20,000 strips of meat. It's mixed with beetroot and saffron for colour and egg, breadcrumbs and salt for flavour and texture. SOUNDBITE: Hanni Rutzler, Food Scientist, saying (English): "I was expecting the texture to be more soft, there's a real bite to it and the browning gave it some flavour It's close to meat but not that juicy." The project at Maastricht University was originally started as food for astronauts. It was funded by the co-founder of Google Sergey Brin SOUNDBITE: Sergey Brin, co-founder of Google, saying (English): "We have a vision in our minds of this pristine farm, a couple of cows some chickens but that's not actually how meat gets produced today. When you see how these cows are treated it's certainly something I'm not comfortable with." Meat consumption is expected to increase by more two thirds by 2050. That's a problem for the planet says Morgaine Gaye a Food Futurologist. SOUNDBITE: Morgaine Gaye, food futureologist, saying (English): "Animals create a lot of methane, they create a lot of greenhouse gasses, they're taking up a lot of farmland which could be used to grow vegetables and grains which would feed a lot more people so we know that meat really is an expensive commodity on every level." The UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation estimates the meat industry is responsible for almost a fifth of global greenhouse gas emissions. It could also mean an end to global food shortages. SOUNDBITE: Morgaine Gaye, food futureologist, saying (English): "We have the tofus the tempais and the corns right now on the supermarket shelves. Things that really were the offshoots from the TVP, textured vegetable proteins of the 70s and we've come a long way since then in 30 years and I think that the invitro meat will have a place within that array of meat type products." Post believes commercial production could begin within 20 years. And any distaste could easily be overcome if the product is cheap enough.

Tasting the €250,000 test-tube burger

Monday, Aug 05, 2013 - 02:40

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