Scientists succeed in creating the first test tube burger

The world’s first laboratory grown beef burger made not out of meat but out of bovine stem cells came into existence having cooked and tasted in an event in London. This burger was grown in-vitro at a cost of 250,000 euro or $332,000 and was eaten in front of the television cameras to gain the greatest media coverage for the culmination of a five-year science experiment. According to the Cultured Beef spokesperson, the total project that will go beyond this first burger and includes other expenses would cost close to 750,000 euro or about $994,200 that was financed by Sergey Brin, the co-founder of search engine giant Google and who will oversee the company’s investment in future products.

Headed by a team at Maastricht University, the Cultured Beef project’s goal was not only to create the first burger in a lab but also to pose a solution to the problem of potential meat shortages. The  head of this project, Dr. Mark Post, a vascular physiologist at Maastricht University, opined that the current livestock of meat production was not sustainable and that would result in meat becoming a luxury if nothing is done. He further insisted that this demonstration was a proof of concept and cultured meat could realistically be on the supermarket shelves within ten to twenty years.

The burger investment is just another move of Sergey Brin to push the world into the future. The Google co-founder whose net worth is estimated to be more than $22.8 billion has been leading the development of the Google Glass, the connected glasses that overlay information in the digital world. He has also invested $5 million in Space adventures, the Virginia based company that arranged flights on Russian Soyuz spacecraft for five wealthy private space travelers. A 2011, study at Oxford University found that the cultured meat would drastically help in reduction of land, water, energy usage and green house emissions involved in meat production. Further, the use of antibiotics in farming has been blamed for increase in treatment resistant disease effecting human beings.

The estimates of WHO (World Health Organisation) reveals that meat production is projected to rise to 376 million tons by 2030 from 218 million tons annually as was in 1997-99 and demand from growing world population are expected to rise beyond that. This cultured or test tube beef burger however does lack taste of actual meat due to absence of fat cells that normally provide much of the traditional meat’s juiciness and taste. In spite of that, scientists are expected to eventually be able to produce meat that is identical to flesh from livestock.

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