herald

Saturday 21 October 2017

No fries with €285k test-tube hamburger

For a hamburger that cost more than €285,000, you might expect it to come with fries and a shake.

But this is no ordinary burger. At a public tasting in London today, scientists served up the first-ever hamburger grown in a laboratory from stem cells of cattle.

Mark Post, whose team at Maastricht University developed the burger after five years of research, hopes making meat in labs could eventually help solve the food crisis and fight climate change.

Prof Post says success doesn't hinge on science. He says, "for the burger to succeed, it has to look, feel and taste like the real thing."

 

Demonstration

He produced the burger from 20,000 tiny strips of meat grown from cow stem cells.

Prof Post's team at Maastricht conducted experiments that progressed from mouse meat to pork and finally beef.

He said: "What we are going to attempt is important because I hope it will show cultured beef has the answers to major problems that the world faces.

"Our burger is made from muscle cells taken from a cow. We haven't altered them in any way."

The demonstration was originally planned for October last year, with celebrity chef Heston Blumenthal cooking the burger for a mystery guest.

The burger was fried in a pan and tasted by two volunteers.

Prof Postwas earlier confident he could produce a burger that is almost indistinguishable from one made from a slaughtered animal.

hnews@herald.ie

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