Researchers in Holland have succeeded in creating strips of
muscle tissue from stem cells, and aim to produce the first
hamburger to be grown in the lab later this year. The aim of the
research is to find a more efficient and environmentally friendly
way of producing meat.
It has been projected that synthetic meat could reduce the
ecological impact of meat production by as much as sixty percent.
The scientists aim to combine the small strips of muscle with blood
and artificially grown fat in order to make a hamburger, which is
predicted to cost around $300,000 to make.
Once the principle has been demonstrated, production techniques
will be refined and costs will come down dramatically. However, the
process of turning it into a saleable product will be long and
costly, and the scientists are concerned that it may take a while
before they can get lab-grown meat to taste like the real
With the global population increasing at a rapid rate, and
resources dwindling, scientists are racing to find more sustainable
food production methods, particularly with the anticipated surge in
demand from developing nations in Asia and Africa.
If the researchers succeed in making viable meat in the
laboratory, it is likely to send shockwaves around the food
production and biotechnology sectors, particularly if it can be
done at significantly lower cost than traditional methods. The
research is being conducted at the University of Maastricht, and is
being funded by an anonymous donor.