The news has brought two meaty stories that seem to coming from different perspectives … you be the judge.
In one story from this week it is reported that the world’s first hamburger made with a synthetic meat protein derived from bovine stem cells will be publicly consumed this October after being prepared by a celebrity chef, according to the inventor of the artificial mince.
Heston Blumenthal is the favourite to be asked to cook the £207,000 hamburger, which will be made from 3,000 strips of synthetic meat protein grown in fermentation vats. Dr Mark Post, of Maastricht University in the Netherlands, said the anonymous backer of his research project had not yet decided who would get to eat the world’s most expensive hamburger, which will unveiled at a ceremony in Maastricht.
Dr Post told the American Association for the Advancement of Science that a hamburger made from artificial beef protein was a milestone in the development of novel ways to meet the global demand for meat, which is expected to double by 2050.
“In October we’re going to provide a ‘proof of concept’ showing that with in vitro culture methods that are pretty classical we can make a product out of stem cells that looks like, and hopefully taste like, meat,” Dr Post said.
“The target goal is to make a hamburger and for that we need to grow 3,000 pieces of this muscle and a couple of hundred pieces of fat tissue. As long as it’s a patty the size of a regular hamburger, I’m happy with it,” he said.
A handful of researchers has been working for the past six years on the technical problem of extracting stem cells from bovine muscle, culturing them in the laboratory and turning them into strips of muscle fibres that can be minced together with synthetic fat cells into an edible product.
The technical challenges have included giving the meat a pinkish colour and the right texture for cooking and eating, as well as ensuring that it feels and tastes like real meat.
Dr Post admitted to being nervous about the final result. “I am a little worried, but seeing and tasting is believing,” he said.
At the same time, in another story, a prize bull called Fabio has set a world record at auction. The pedigree Limousin was expected to fetch £40,000 at the cattle market in Carlisle, Cumbria but went for £126,000 beating the previuos record by £21,000.
Glyn Vaughan who bred Fabio at his farm in Machynlleth, Powys, said “When it hit £80,000, I hoped it woud reach £100,00. I’m not sure I remember what happened after that. It was unreal.”
The winning bid by Alan Jenkinson of Penrith, set a world record for a Limousin and a British record for a Bull.
Agricultural experts say the new owner will quickly recoup the money for the 17 month old bull through breeding. Mr Vaughan said “He’s a big fellow but very docile. I’m sorry to see him go, but delighted he made so much money.”
Charlie the butcher