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November 12, 2011

First in Vitro Meat Hamburger will cost $345,000

The first lab-grown burger to cost $345,000 to produce, but could be sustainable option in near future.

The first lab-grown hamburger will cost about $345,000 to produce, accordinghttp://www.blogger.com/blogger.g?blogID=17555522#editor to Mark Post, a vascular biologist at the University of Maastricht in the Netherlands, who hopes to unveil such a delicacy soon



Samples of in-vitro meat shown earlier this week at the University of Maastricht, where scientists are cooking up news ways to feed us. Photograph by: Francois Lenoir, Reuters, Reuters

Nextbigfuture has covered invitro meat before and compared it to the process for making chicken nuggets



Using stem cells harvested from leftover animal material from slaughterhouses, Post nurtures them with a feed concocted of sugars, amino acids, lipids, minerals and all other nutrients they need to grow in the right way.

So far he has produced whitish pale muscle-like strips, each of them around 2.5 cm long, less than a centimetre wide and so thin as to be almost seethrough.

Pack enough of these together - probably around 3,000 of them in layers - throw in a few strips of lab-grown fat, and you have the world's first "cultured meat" burger, he says.

Supporters of the idea of man-made meat, such as Stellan Welin, a bioethicist at Linköping University in Sweden, say this is no less appealing than mass-producing livestock in factory farms where growth hormones and antibiotics are commonly used to boost yields and profits.

And conventional meat production is also notoriously inefficient. For every 15 grams of edible meat, you need to feed the animals on around 100 grams of vegetable protein, an increasingly unsustainable equation.

Growing our favorite meats in-vitro would use 35 to 60 per cent less energy, emit 80 to 95 per cent less greenhouse gas and use around 98 per cent less land than conventionally produced animal meat

All this means finding new ways of producing meat is essential if we are to feed the enormous and ever-growing demand for it across the world, Welin told Reuters in an interview.

"This first one will be grown in an academic lab, by highly trained academic staff," he said. "It's handmade and it's time and labour-intensive, that's why it's so expensive to produce."



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