NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Z_CNHI News Service

September 3, 2013

Hamburger grown in a laboratory?

It sounds like science fiction when you first hear about it, but some people see it as a way of addressing both animal welfare issues and environmental concerns. I'm talking about growing meat cells for human consumption from stem cells harvested from a cow. This so-called "cultured beef" recently was unveiled in London by a group led by Mark Post, a physiologist at the Netherland’s Maastricht University.

It's been known for a while that an anonymous donor contributed money toward an effort to grow a hamburger patty in a laboratory. That donor is now unmasked as Sergey Brin, co-founder of Google.

"Sometimes a new technology comes along and it has the capability to transform how we view the world," Brin told National Public Radio.

Industrial meat production in feedlots puts demands on the environment. Creating meat in a lab could, at least in theory, decrease the environmental cost of creating protein for the world's increasing population.

"Our current meat production is at a maximum and it's not going to be sustainable," Post said to reporters. "We need to come up with an alternative."

After three months of work, Post and his colleagues had a patty to unveil to two tasters and invited guests – mostly journalists.

The hamburger started life as stem cells in a cow's shoulder. As time unfolded, the cells grew and divided. Using some "scaffolding" provided to them, the cells organized themselves into muscle fibers. All told, about 20,000 muscle fibers went into the hamburger patty.

Because it has no blood cells in it, the burger would naturally be quite light colored. As reported by Business Insider, to compensate for the color, the burger's makers added saffron and beet juice to make the hamburger more red.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Z_CNHI News Service

Offbeat
NDN Video
Weird 'Wakudoki' Dance Launches Promotional Competition Two women barely avoid being hit by train Chris Pratt Adorably Surprises Kids at a 'Guardians of the Galaxy' Screening Chapter Two: Designing for Naomi Watts NOW TRENDING: Peyton Manning dancing at practice "The Bachelorette" Makes Her Decision Thieves pick the wrong gas station to rob Golden Sisters on '50 Shades' trailer: 'Look At That Chest!' Staten Island Man's Emotional Dunk Over NYPD Car - @TheBuzzeronFOX GMA: Dog passes out from excitment to see owner Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted 'Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1' Sneak Peek Florida Keys Webcam Captures Turtles Hatching Morgan Freeman Sucks Down Helium on 'Tonight Show' Robin Wright Can Dance! (WATCH) She's Back! See Paris Hilton's New Carl's Jr. Ad Big Weekend For Atlanta Braves In Cooperstown - @TheBuzzeronFox Chapter Two: Becoming a first-time director What's Got Jack Black Freaking Out at Comic-Con? Doctors Remove 232 Teeth From Teen's Mouth
Special Features
NRA Waterfront Plans