A corner of west London saw culinary and scientific history made on Monday as scientists cooked and served up the world's first lab-grown beef burger.
The in-vitro burger, cultured from cattle stem cells, the first example of what its creator says could provide an answer to global food shortages and help combat climate change, was fried in a pan and tasted by two volunteers.
The burger is the result of years of research by Dutch scientist Mark Post, a vascular biologist at the University of Maastricht, who is working to show how meat grown in petri dishes might one day be a true alternative to meat from livestock.
The meat in the burger has been made by knitting together around 20,000 strands of protein that has been cultured from cattle stem cells in Post's lab. The tissue is grown by placing the cells in a ring, like a donut, around a hub of nutrient gel, Post explained.
To prepare the burger, scientists combined the cultured beef with other ingredients normally used in burgers, such as salt, breadcrumbs and egg powder. Red beet juice and saffron have been added to bring out its natural colours.
Our burger is made from muscle cells taken from a cow. We haven't altered them in any way, Post said in a statement. ”For it to succeed it has to look, feel and hopefully taste like the real thing”.