The world's first burger made from meat grown in a test-tube was cooked and served up in London yesterday, marking the first step towards being able mass produce synthetic meat.
Created using stem cells from a cow, scientists were able to grow strands of meat in a laboratory and then bind it all together to make a burger.
The first of it's kind patty, which cost £250,000 to produce, was tasted by food critics Hanni Ruetzler and Josh Schonwald, reports the BBC.
Austrian food researcher Ruetzler's verdict was, 'I was expecting the texture to be more soft...there is quite some intense taste; it's close to meat, but it's not that juicy. The consistency is perfect, but I miss salt and pepper.'
'This is meat to me. It's not falling apart,' he added.
COULD YOU EAT A BURGER GROWN IN A TEST-TUBE?
Whereas food writer Schonwald said, 'The mouthfeel is like meat. I miss the fat, there's a leanness to it, but the general bite feels like a hamburger...What was consistently different was flavour.'
The meat is initially white in colour, so is given the appearance of meat using a naturally-occuring compound myoglobin.
'If it doesn't look like normal meat, if it doesn't taste like normal meat, it's not... going to be a viable replacement,' explained Helen Breewood, a scientist working on the project.
'A lot of people consider lab-grown meat repulsive at first. But if they consider what goes into producing normal meat in a slaughterhouse, I think they would also find that repulsive,' she added.
The project aims to find an alternative solution to the growing demand for meat and to limit the harmful environmental effects the industry has.
The scientist behind the burger, Professor Mark Post, of Maastricht University, said, 'It's a very good start.'
The other big revelation at the taste test was the reveal of the project's mystery financial backer, Sergey Brin, co-founder of Google, who has funded the research secretly so far.
So could test tube meat be hitting your supermarket shelves soon?
'I think it will take a while. This is just to show we can do it,' remarked Professor Post.
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