$325,000 lab-grown stem cell burger gets taste test
A hamburger made from cow muscle grown in a laboratory was fried, served and eaten in London on Monday in an odd demonstration of one view of the future of food.
According to the three people who ate it, the burger was dry and a bit lacking in flavor. One taster, Josh Schonwald, a Chicago-based author of a book on the future of food, said “the bite feels like a conventional hamburger” but that the meat tasted “like an animal-protein cake.”
The two-year project to make the one burger, plus extra tissue for testing, cost $325,000. On Monday it was revealed that Sergey Brin, one of the founders of Google, paid for the project. Dr. Post said Mr. Brin got involved because “he basically shares the same concerns about the sustainability of meat production and animal welfare.”The meat was produced using stem cells — basic cells that can turn into tissue-specific cells — from cow shoulder muscle from a slaughterhouse. The cells were multiplied in a nutrient solution and put into small petri dishes, where they became muscle cells and formed tiny strips of muscle fiber. About 20,000 strips were used to make the five-ounce burger, which contained breadcrumbs, salt, and some natural colorings as well.