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A 21st-century take on mystery meat

Would you chow down on a burger packed with test tube-grown meat?

A European professor – with backing from a wealthy anonymous donor – plans to unveil a complete burger incorporating a lab-grown patty, produced at a cost of more than £200,000, this October.

Dr Mark Post, head of physiology at Maastricht University, has grown small strips of beef using a cow’s stem calls and serum taken from a horse foetus.

He hopes celebrity chef Heston Blumenthal will cook the burger for a diner, to be chosen by Post's financier.

Post wants to reduce the amount of cattled farmed for food and to cut back on greenhouse gas emissions.

The way things are going, he says, meat is set to become a luxury food priced out of the average person's reach.

“Eventually my vision is that you have a limited herd of donor animals in the world that you keep in stock and that you get your cells from.”

Cows are among the least efficient animals at converting the food they eat into food for humans, he says.

Post and a team of six have grown thin sheets of muscle; a burger will require 3,000 pieces of muscle and a few hundred pieces of fatty tissue, minced together and formed into a patty.

Post believes it will be possible to increase the number of burgers made from a single cow from 100 to 100 million.