Tuesday, August 6, 2013

More Lab Grown Beef & Why Synthetic Meat is Awesome

Cultured Beef
Cultured Beef; Credit: David Perry / PA Wire
Bovine everywhere are just a little bit happier lately, with news of progress being made in cultured beef. It seems I've been hearing about "in vitro meat" for a few years now with ever increasing frequency. The latest news comes from Maastricht University in the Netherlands where Professor Mark Post and his team have made surprisingly appetizing progress. Now to be honest his product is still pretty odd, but it's much better looking than the gelatinous meat blobs I've seen in the past.

Cooking Cultured Beef burger
Cooking Cultured Beef burger; Credit: David Perry / PA Wire

Of course it's all about public perception and getting it to look as much like "real beef" as possible is sadly a big part of the uphill battle anyone in this field has ahead of them. I give them all the credit in the world for trying. The Maastricht group even unveiled, cooked and ate one of their cultured beef patties in the UK yesterday, in front of 200 journalists no less. At an estimated cost of $330,000 dollars to produce, I'd say they put their money where their mouth is. After a few minutes in the old skillet, it actually looked pretty good.

Cooked Cultured Beef burger
A cooked "Petri Beef" burger; Credit: David Perry / PA Wire

On a serious note, the potential for good and profit from lab grown meat is very real. Even heavyweights like Google's Sergey Brin have put their weight and money behind Professor Post. With the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, land and water use, and not to mention put a dent in the current system of cattle farming, often seen as inhumane, this is something we would be wise to not dismiss as science fiction. In a few years, with better technology and efficiency, you might just see these at your local supermarket.

Their website has a bit more info and "petri beef" (that's just what I call it) photos, if interested. I'll definitely be keeping an eye on their progress.

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