Science TEDx

Meet the new meat: A TEDx talk to pair with the first lab-grown hamburger

Posted by: Hailey Reissman

Yesterday, the first lab-grown hamburger was cooked. And eaten! And according to The Week, it didn’t taste too bad. This lab-grown patty took two years and $325,000 to produce. And as sources revealed, the money came from Google co-founder and TED speaker Sergey Brin. (Watch his talk on Google Glass, or his talk with Larry Page on the genesis of Google.)

But the TED connection doesn’t end there. The burger is a product of Cultured Beef, a project born at Maastricht University in The Netherlands and headed by Mark Post, a specialist in tissue engineering.  At TEDxHaarlem, Post gave a talk called Meet the new meat, during which he introduced Cultured Beef to the world and explained the process behind its growth. He also discussed the future he envisions for in-vitro meat.

Here’s an excerpt from his talk, featured above:

“This hamburger contains 60 billion cells. Now, that’s a lot. You need to culture a lot of cells. You need to somehow find a way to do that efficiently because, remember, we have to be more efficient than the cow or the pig…

It has to be efficient and it has to also be meat. Not some kind of substitute. We have more than enough substitutes from vegetable proteins. It needs really to be meat. Nothing less, nothing more…

It takes about 7-8 weeks to grow a muscle fiber, and so, also 7-8 weeks to grow a hamburger. You could do it at home if you like … If you have the right materials, it’s very, very easy to do. And in fact [the] stem cells … they survive freeze-drying, so you could envision that over the Internet we would eventually sell little, sort of, tea bags of stem cells — from tuna, from tiger, from cows, from pigs, from whatever animal you could imagine. Then, in the comfort of your own kitchen, you could grow your own tissue. You would have to know what you want to eat 8 weeks in advance — because it takes a while.”

For more about Cultured Beef, watch Professor Post’s TEDx talk, or take a look at the website.

This post originally ran on the TEDx Blog. Read more there »

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