Cultured Beef1

The burger above is still, essentially, beef. However, it’s not meat from the cows you see out in the pasture; rather, it’s meat that’s been cultured in a Petri dish in a lab. The beef was “grown” by Professor┬áMark Post and his team at the Maastricht University. Their goal was to develop a humane way to meet the world’s ever-growing meat demands without over-taxing natural resources.

To produce one pound of meat, 2,400 gallons or so of water is required. It’s a more energy-intensive process than, say, cultivating crops, so it requires so much more fossil fuel for a smaller output. Cultured meat is Post’s solution to this, and many people think it’s actually a good idea–including Google’s co-founder Sergey Brin.

Cultured Beef

In fact, Brin was among those who funded Post’s project.

So how is the meat cultured? Muscle tissues of cows from organic farms were first obtained. These tissues were separated into single cells and allowed to grow in a nutrient solution. The cells multiplied, merged, and formed strands that were about 0.3mm long. According to the researchers, 20,000 of these strands are needed to make a 5-oz. burger.

The first public tasting of the cultured burger was done recently, which was described by one of the tasters as having a “very bland, neutral flavor.”

Personally, I prefer regular burgers–and burgers I can afford, because the one Post and his team made apparently cost $330,000! They’ll probably be able to get costs down in due time, but will there be actual demand for this cultured meat? What do you think?



  1. Culinary experts will team up with biologists and chemists to get this formula down. Give it a decade and lab grown beef will rival even the best Kobe you’ve ever laid tastebuds on.