From the New York Times:
The hamburger, assembled from tiny bits of beef muscle tissue grown in a laboratory and to be cooked and eaten at an event in London, perhaps in a few weeks, is meant to show the world — including potential sources of research funds — that so-called in vitro meat, or cultured meat, is a reality…
The burger was created at phenomenal cost — 250,000 euros, or about $325,000, provided by a donor who so far has remained anonymous. Large-scale manufacturing of cultured meat that could sit side by side with conventional meat in a supermarket and compete with it in price is at the very least a long way off.
It may not taste very well or be the most cost effective, but I am convinced we are looking at the future of meat production.
The benefits could be quite large once the process is perfected. Here’s a few I thought up off the top of my head:
- We’d need a lot less food stock per pound of meat, as there’s no animal to get into the way
- Feeding 9 billion in 2050 a euro/US meat diet becomes less harmful to the environment
- Reduced global warming by eliminating–except for dairy–one of the largest sources of methane gas (cow farts
- Test tube meat should eliminate much of the antibiotics use in animal raising, which causes the drug resistant forms of e. coli
- Growing meat in vitro removes the ethical issues with mass farming of animals (open range vs pens, etc)
- Genetically engineered meat could be healthier for you than the real thing. Imagine a t-bone steak made of turkey that tastes like beef, or chicken with the anti-oxidants of fruit