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'At least it tastes of meat!

': World's first test-tube artificial beef 'Googleburger' gets GOOD review as it's eaten for the first time
The 142g patty cost 250,000 to make and consists of meat grown in a lab Total of 20,000 strips of meat were grown in petri dishes in the Netherlands The artificial meat was electrically stimulated to bulk up the 'muscle' and then blended with 200 pieces of lab-grown animal fat Red beetroot juice and saffron added to provide authentic beef colouring It has also been revealed that one of the burger's financial backers is computer entrepreneur, and Google co-founder, Sergey Brin
By Victoria Woollaston, Rachel Reilly and Nick Mcdermott PUBLISHED: 08:06 GMT, 5 August 2013 | UPDATED: 23:52 GMT, 5 August 2013

3,484 shares 487 View comments

It may look like something youd chuck on the barbecue without a second thought, but this round of meat costs a very beefy 250,000 as the worlds first test-tube burger. After the patty was lightly fried in a little butter and sunflower oil yesterday, the two volunteers chosen to taste it in front of a live audience were hardly effusive, though. I was expecting the texture to be more soft, said Austrian food researcher Hanni Rutzler, taking 27 chews before being able to swallow a mouthful. Its close to meat its not that juicy. The second volunteer, food writer Josh Schonwald added: The absence is the fat. But the bite feels like a conventional hamburger. What was conspicuously different was flavour.

Scroll down to watch the taste test...

The world's first test-tube burger, made from lab-grown meat, (pictured) has been cooked and eaten in London today. The 142g patty was developed by Professor Mark Post (pictured) of Maastricht University in the Netherlands. It cost 250,000 to produce and is made from 20,000 strips of meat grown from cow stem cells

The cultured beef takes three months to grow in a laboratory, using cells from a living cow. Its creator, Dutch scientist Mark Post, claims it could revolutionise the food industry and help save the planet. He believes that artificial meat products could be sold in supermarkets within a decade. After tasting his invention yesterday, he said: I think its a very good start it proved that we can do this, that we can make it. We are basically catering towards letting beef-eaters eat beef in an environmentally ethical way. Asked if he would feed the burger to his children, he said he was saving a piece of the cooked patty to give to them later. His burgers are created in a four-step process. First, stem cells which have the power to turn into any other cell are stripped from cow muscle, which is taken during a harmless biopsy.

THE SCIENCE BEHIND THE 'FRANKENBURGER'


The stem cells are cultivated in a nutrient broth, allowing them to proliferate 30-fold. Next they are combined with an elastic collagen and attached to Velcro 'anchor points' in a culture dish. Between the anchor points, the cells self-organise into chunks of muscle. Electrical stimulation is then used to make the muscle strips contract and 'bulk up' - the laboratory equivalent of working out in a gym. Finally thousands of beef strips are minced up, together with 200 pieces of lab-grown animal fat, and moulded into a patty.

Around 20,000 meat strands are needed to make one 142g burger. Other non-meat ingredients include salt, egg powder, and breadcrumbs. Red beetroot juice and saffron are added to provide authentic beef colouring. Next, the cells are incubated in a nutrient broth until they multiply many times over, creating a sticky tissue. This is then bulked up through the laboratory equivalent of exercise it is anchored to Velcro and stretched. Finally, 20,000 strips of the meat are minced and mixed with salt, breadcrumbs, egg powder and natural red colourants to form an edible patty. The secret celebrity backer who bankrolled the 650,000 project was yesterday unveiled as billionaire Google founder Sergey Brin. Professor Post said: He is as interested in solving the food problems as I am. Mr Brin seems to believe quite confidently that man-made meat will do a great deal to help humanity. In a video message played to attendees at yesterday's event, he said: 'Sometimes when technology comes along, it has the capability to transform how we view our world. 'I like to look at technology opportunities. When technology seems like it is on the cusp of viability and if it succeeds there, it can be really transformative for the world.' 'There are basically three things that can happen going forward - one is that we can all become vegetarian. I don't think that's really likely. 'The second is we ignore the issues and that leads to continued environmental harm and the third option is we do something new. 'Some people think this is science fiction - it's not real, it's somewhere out there. I actually think that's a good thing.'
The tasting of a test-tube beef burger

The man-made patty (pictured) was fried in a pan and sampled by two volunteers US-based food author Josh Schonwald and Austrian food researcher Hanni Ruetzler. Ms Ruetzler said that it had the 'perfect consistency'

Appetising? The meat had red beetroot juice and saffron added to provide an authentic beef colouring. Despite these ingredients, taster Ms Ruetzler said it could have done with some salt and pepper

Professor Post has spent seven years trying to turn stem cells into meat, and was first successful with mouse burgers. He then tried to grow pork producing strips with the rubbery texture of squid or scallops before settling on beef. His technique, he says, can be used to recreate the flesh of most animals, including rare species such as tigers or pandas, although demand may be questionable.

WHO IS SERGEY BRIN?

It has just been revealed that Sergey Brin is one of the financial backers of the test-tube burger. Mr Brin is an American computer scientist and Internet entrepreneur who, with Larry Page, co-founded Google. Together with Page, he owns 16 per cent of the internet search giant.

His personal wealth is estimated to be 13.2bn in 2012. He and Page previously invested in a large offshore wind farm in 2010 and a self-driving car in a bid to reduce road accidents via Google's philanthropic arm. It is believed that Mr Brin invested 215,000 in the creation of the burger. Mr Brin has also invested in Space Adventures - the private space tourism company that is selling 65 million trips to the Moon. He has also previously worked with film director James Cameron to investigate mining asteroids and has an interest in solving the worlds energy and climate problems. Before the burger was cooked, he said: 'What we are going to attempt is important because I hope it will show cultured beef has the answers to major problems that the world faces. 'Our burger is made from muscle cells taken from a cow. 'We havent altered them in any way. For it to succeed it has to look, feel and hopefully taste like the real thing.' The raw ingredients are 0.02in (0.5mm) thick strips of pinkish yellow lab-grown tissue. Professor Post was confident he could produce a burger that was almost indistinguishable from one made from a slaughtered animal. And perhaps he wasn't far off. After taking a mouthful, taster Ms Ruetzler said: 'I was expecting the texture to be more soft... I know there is no fat in it so I didn't know how juicy it would be. 'It's close to meat. It's not that juicy. The consistency is perfect (but) I miss salt and pepper!' Professor Post pointed out that livestock farming is becoming unsustainable, with demand for meat rocketing around the world. Unveiling the research last year at a science meeting in Vancouver, Canada, he said: 'Meat demand is going to double in the next 40 years. Right now we are using 70% of all our agricultural capacity to grow meat through livestock. 'You can easily calculate that we need alternatives.' The 'artificial' meat is produced using a complex process - in effect turning a mere dish of stem cells into a burger that can be grilled or fried. First the stem cells are cultivated in a nutrient broth, allowing them to proliferate 30-fold. Next they are combined with an elastic collagen and attached to Velcro 'anchor points' in a culture dish. Between the anchor points, the cells 'self-organise' into chunks of muscle. Electrical stimulation is then used to make the muscle strips contract and 'bulk up' - the laboratory equivalent of working out in a gym.

Samples of the in-vitro meat, or cultured meat grown in a laboratory at the University of Maastricht. Other non-meat ingredients include salt, egg powder, and breadcrumbs. Red beetroot juice and saffron are added to provide authentic beef colouring

Finally the thousands of beef strips are minced up, together with 200 pieces of lab-grown animal fat, and moulded into a patty. Around 20,000 meat strands are needed to make one 5oz (142g) burger. Other non-meat ingredients include salt, egg powder, and breadcrumbs. Red beetroot juice and saffron are added to provide authentic beef colouring.

REACTION TO THE STEM CELL BURGER


Jaap Korteweg, The Vegetarian Butcher said: 'From our perspective, the stem cell burger is an interesting idea but is still powered by "fuels" from living animals. 'Only when its possible to grow stem cells on plant based materials it could be worthwhile to invest time and money in this development. Now its still simply a detour.' Dr Iain Brassington, bioethicist, Centre for Social Ethics and Policy, University of Manchester, said: 'While the sight of someone eating a very expensive burger is clearly something of a publicity stunt, the underlying idea behind laboratory-grown meat is sound. 'The research is highly laudable, because what it promises is so desirable.' A major advantage of test-tube meat is that it can be customised for health, for instance by boosting levels of polyunsaturated fats, said Professor Post. Before the taste demonstration Professor Post was asked if he would feed lab-grown beef to his children. He said: 'I ate it myself a couple of times without any hesitation whatsoever.

'Now a couple of people are going to taste it and my kids are jealous. I'd be very comfortable for them to taste it.' Manufacturing steaks instead of minced meat presents a much greater technical challenge, requiring some kind of blood vessel system to carry nutrients and oxygen to the centre of the tissue, he added. Making artificial chicken or fish from stem cells might be easier. Dr Neil Stephens, a sociologist based at Cardiff University who has studied test tube meat, told AFP that the project was an attempt to spark a debate about an issue that many in the field believe is still not taken seriously enough. He said that the developers want to demonstrate to the world that in-vitro meat is viable, and that it's something to be taken seriously. 'What will be interesting is, in the coming weeks, watching the response to see how many people are convinced by the technology,' he added. The animal welfare organisation Peta (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) has welcomed the research.

Dutch scientist Professor Mark Post examines samples of in-vitro meat grown in his lab. In-vitro meat or cultured meat is an animal flesh product that has never been part of a complete, living animal

A spokesman said: 'One day you will be able to eat meat with ethical impunity. In-vitro technology will spell the end of lorries full of cows and chickens, abattoirs and factory farming. It will reduce carbon emissions, conserve water and make the food supply safer. 'Lab-grown meat will provide people who were addicted from childhood to the saturated fat in flesh with the methadone for their habit.' The Food Standards Agency said: 'As the competent authority for novel foods in the UK, the Food Standards Agency is closely following emerging technologies and developments concerning novel protein sources as food.

'In-vitro' or cultured meat is not yet commercially viable, but the technology used to produce cultured meat could be advanced enough for trials to take place. 'Any novel food, or food produced using a novel production process, must undergo a stringent and independent safety assessment before it is placed on the market. 'Anyone seeking approval of an in-vitro meat product would have to provide a dossier of evidence to show that the product is safe, nutritionally equivalent to existing meat products, and will not mislead the consumer. 'This would be evaluated under the EU regulation for novel foods, prior to a decision on authorisation. There have been no such applications to date.'

VIDEO: 'Googleburger' - Search engine's co-founder explains reasons for sponsoring the world's first test-tube burger
'Googleburger'. Search engine's co-founder explains reasons...

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Comments (487)
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This scares vegetarians so much because once it becomes reality, their only real argument against eating meat (the death of an animal) goes out of the window... Not being able to play the animal cruelty card to recruit new members is going to decimate their ranks.... It's still early days yet, but the bell is definitely tolling for vegetarianism, which is a good thing for the vast majority of us who are sick to the back teeth of their proselytising and moralising. - Dave Ninetynine , Darlington - UK, 07/8/2013 15:03 Click to rate Report abuse How about we just fund global education on how we as humans are actually supposed to eat. We over consume meat grossly. The body has no need for all that meat. It is really just a brain craving at this point. If we ate only the tiny amount that our body can actually process a lot of meat companies wld probly just flat out tank n the likeliness of meat ever running scarce wld be small. We already live off enough unhealthy "chemicals, luxuries, and inventions" that are toxic n r accepted. Sm things really are... just perfect asis Ppl with too much money and no common sense are starting to be the norm. Ill just not eat beef or chicken or whatever they "grow" before I eat this. Wasteful humans always lookin for some backward over the top unnatural way out of some mess that's been made from disrespecting what has been gifted to us naturally already. The cycle must be broken. They cld have dropped off enough vegetables to feed a small town for this. - Mecca Maxwell , charlotte, United States, 07/8/2013 14:32 Click to rate Report abuse Personally I have my concerns but with the right rules and regulations in place I can see this being the future. I am all for it! - Wilts , Bath, United Kingdom, 07/8/2013 12:12 Click to rate Report abuse now this is how you begin getting zombies in the world...good luck better rack up on your bullets people! - Morgan Alana , atlanta, United States, 06/8/2013 19:15 Click to rate Report abuse I'd rather encourage more of us to eat less meat and more veg than "grow" meat in petri dishes! Look at what happened horse meat scandal and that was coming from animals. Think of what they'd add if they came from labs! - Omosare Omogbagi , London, 06/8/2013 16:35 Click to rate Report abuse It's all too easy to scoff at innovation, imagine if we followed the notion of the luddites. Necessity is and always will be the mother of invention and although its probably not feasible right now, in time it will more than likely be looked upon as normal. - ray , reading, United Kingdom, 06/8/2013 15:47 Click to rate Report abuse Might we be seeing the first steps to the end of the mass terror and slaughter of sentient beings? I hope so, this has been a long time coming. - kaibo , crewe, 06/8/2013 15:16 Rating 4 Rating 1 Rating 3 Rating 3 Rating (0) Rating 3

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God, bless us all. - just a girl , overtherainbow, 06/8/2013 14:46 Click to rate Report abuse I think it's the future. It's not 'fake' meat, it's still beef, it's just not grown inside the cow but in a lab. This is a good thing, it means no more mass slaughter of animals. Don't forget, this is just the first test, wait years for them to develop this and it will be amazing. Maybe it's just us nerds that see this whole process as a good thing. - Real Talk , London, 06/8/2013 14:03 Click to rate Report abuse "Surely the money spent on this could have been put to better use.- Emily , High Wycombe, United Kingdom, 06/8/2013 12:08" I cant think of a better use than saving millions of animal suffering each year at the slaughterhouses. - Scottyboy , Glasgow, 06/8/2013 13:39 Click to rate Report abuse Share this comment The views expressed in the contents above are those of our users and do not necessarily reflect the views of MailOnline. Rating 14 Rating 18 Rating 3

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