News World

'Test tube hamburger' coming this fall

QMI Agency


There are organic burgers, burgers sandwiched between doughnuts, and $100 burgers.

Joining the crowded hamburger market this fall is the first burger made from stem cells.

A group of scientists at Maastricht University in the Netherlands has grown small pieces of muscle about 2 cm long, 1 cm wide and about 1 mm thick, BBC News is reporting. They are off-white and resemble strips of calamari in appearance. These strips will be mixed with blood and artificially grown fat to produce a hamburger by the autumn.

Prof. Mark Post, who leads the team, estimates the cost of producing the hamburger will be around $300,000 but adds that "once the principle has been demonstrated, production techniques will be improved and costs will come down."

Post said he was even planning to ask British celebrity chef Heston Blumenthal to cook it.

"The reason we are doing this is not to show a viable product, but to show that in reality we can do this," Post told BBC News.

"From then on, we need to spend a whole lot of work and money to make the process efficient and then cost effective."

Prof. Sean Smukler from the University of British Columbia told the BBC he thinks that lab grown meat could be a good solution.

"It will help reduce land pressures," he said. "Anything that stops more wild land being converted to agricultural land is a good thing. We're already reaching a critical point in availability of arable land."