Meat from pig stem cells

Nieuws | de redactie
21 februari 2012 | Maastricht Professor Mark Post has gained international attention with BBC reporting on his experiments to grow meat from pig stem cells. By fall, Post’s team wants to create the first hamburger made from in-vitro muscle tissue, blood and artificial fat.

Speaking at a conference in Canada, Post argued that the artificial production of meatcould reduce its environmental footprint by 60%. “It will helpreduce land pressures. Anything that stops more wild land beingconverted to agricultural land is a good thing. We’re alreadyreaching a critical point in availability of arable land.”

The lab grown meat could also be more energy efficient. Usually,pigs need to be fed with 100g of plant protein for every 15g ofanimal protein. Artificial meat could raise this efficiency rate to50%. More arguments are raised saying that synthesizing meat isultimately more humane than killing animals. Facing a growing worldpopulation might furthermore be easier when making meat is aquestion of months, not years given that the animal has to maturefirst.

€240.000 for little taste

The production of the first hamburger, however, will be pricey.Current estimates lie around €240.000. “The reason we are doingthis is not to show a viable product but to show that in reality wecan do this. From then on, we need to spend a whole lot of work andmoney to make the process efficient and then cost effective.”

The taste of this first burger might furthermore bedisappointing. “In the beginning it will taste bland. I think wewill need to work on the flavor separately by trying to figure outwhich components of the meat actually produce the taste and analyzewhat the composition of the strip is and whether we can changethat.”

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