LONDON — A Dutch scientist Monday will unveil the world’s first beef burger created by stem cells harvested from a living cow, moving a step closer toward offering a sustainable alternative to meat production.
The 5-ounce burger cost more than 250,000 euros ($332,000) to produce, with the research being funded by an anonymous individual, said the scientist, Mark Post of Maastricht University. Two volunteers have agreed to sample the burger, which will be fried in a pan at a tasting event in London today.
Post is among scientists including those at Modern Meadow and New Harvest who are experimenting with ways to grow meat in labs as an alternative to raising livestock, which contributes 18 percent of greenhouse-gas emissions and uses 30 percent of the world’s ice-free land, according to an Oxford University study. Commercial production could begin in a decade or two, according to Post, whose work on cultured beef began in 2008.
The muscle stem cells, taken by harmless biopsy from living cows, are fed and nurtured so they multiply to create muscle tissue. The cells grow into strands, and 20,000 of them get combined to create one burger.
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One sample of cells is enough to create up to 20,000 tons of meat in the lab, Post said.