Food Engineering

Scientists serve lab-grown burger made of stem cell beef

While the cost is currently prohibitive, proponents say lab-grown meat could help feed the world and fight climate change.

August 5, 2013

Scientists serve lab-grown stem cell burger

A team led by Mark Post at Maastricht University in the Netherlands has developed-- and now served for taste-testing-- a beef burger grown in a laboratory from cow stem cells. The $330,000 project, funded by Google co-founder Sergey Brin, is touted as a step towards combating food insecurity and climate change. Post says its crucial the burger "look, feel and taste like the real thing," before scientists focus on scaling the so-called cultured beef for market.

Monday's taste test, after five years of research, received mixed marks. "The absence is the fat, it's a leanness to it, but the bite feels like a conventional hamburger," US journalist Josh Schonwald told the AP. Austrian nutritionist Hanni Ruetzler agreed that the consistency was close to meat but said she missed salt and pepper. Researchers say taste could be enhanced by allowing some stem cells develop into fat cells instead of muscle.