Test Tube Burger in Preparation

A quarter million Euro burger is in preparation, and it remains to be seen who will be able to choke it down.

Reuters reports

“Cultured meat” — burgers or sausages grown in laboratory Petri dishes rather than made from slaughtered livestock — could be the answer that feeds the world, saves the environment and spares the lives of millions of animals, they say.

…growing our favorite meats in-vitro would use 35 to 60 percent less energy, emit 80 to 95 percent less greenhouse gas and use around 98 percent less land than conventionally produced animal meat.

…While experts in the field agree that within several years, it may be possible to produce in-vitro meat in a processed form — like sausages or chicken nuggets — producing more animal-like products such as pork chops or steaks could be a lot more complex and may take many more years to develop.

I dunno. I make a kick-butt fake-beef picadillo suitable for Mexican and Italian food out of commercial soy-based TVP (I like Smart Grounds brand). My guests don’t even notice. And when I tell them what it is, they don’t immediately seem to want to barf. This is a solution without a problem if you ask me.


  1. I've had fake meats in soups where you don't notice much difference, but you can't really make anything resembling a burger out of them. That said, as much as I am excited for the day I can eat a lab-grown burger, I don't really eat that much beef. What I'm really waiting for is someone to figure out how to make milk in a lab. Dairy products are worse environmentally than poultry or pork, and I'm addicted to them. You'd think it would be easier to make milk than meat -- it's a liquid with no structure to worry about -- but no one seems to be solving this problem.

  2. I can't make a proper veggie burger in my kitchen, and I'd have to agree that the problem hasn't been solved.

    But I think McD's can solve it if they set their minds to it. (Not to mention that they also have a pretty low bar to hit in the first place, insofar as burger quality is concerned. I bet they can come up with a hit when they do set their minds to it, and I'd be surprised if they aren't working on it, honestly.)

    The point I take from this story is that getting sirloin to grow in a lab is completely not happening as yet, and that the material they are getting, though theoretically edible as far as anybody knows, is going to be much harder to recast into a palatable shape than soybeans are.

    As for sirloin in a vat, I'm just guessing here, but I'd imagine you'd need a heart, a lung, and even the beginnings of a nervous system at the least. And I don't know about you, but as far as I'm concerned the day an amoral publicly traded corporation starts growing neurons in vats is a day that I am not especially eager to see.

    I suggest that this is a place we need to draw a line. I'll take the soyburger please.

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