(Medical Xpress)—Ogilvy Public Relations has announced that a media event will take place on August 5th in London to publicize the results of efforts by Mark Post, a researcher at the University of Maastricht in the Netherlands—he has been trying to grow palatable beef in a lab. An unknown person will be invited to taste the beef sample that has been grown from stem cells, in front of an invitation-only crowd of guests.
Growing meat from stem cells would allow for the production of meat without dedicating land to pasture animals. It's a goal of several research facilities around the world, but thus far all such efforts have been not only costly, but have resulted in meat products that are not of sufficient quality to replace that which is grown naturally. Post, working with funds from an unknown donor, has been working for nearly a decade trying to produce a product that not only tastes as good as "real" meat, but looks appetizing as well.
To grow the meat, Post and his team start with stem cells taken from cattle at slaughterhouses. Each cell is fed and nurtured and eventually grows into a strip approximately 3 centimeters long by 1.5 centimeters wide. The meat sample is made up of 5000 such strips which have been chopped up and mixed with grown fat cells to make a kind of hamburger. The sample will almost certainly also have some sort of coloring agent mixed in as well, as artificially grown beef is generally dull white. Post has reported in the past that the meat strips are stretched to keep them tender. He's also previously reported that thus far his research efforts have consumed £220,000, making the first burger, far more expensive than one obtained via traditional ways.
Post has stated that his overall objective is to find a means for mass producing artificially grown beef, pork and chicken (technically known as "in-vitro meat") to replace naturally grown meat to reduce the amount of greenhouse gasses released due to raising livestock as a food source. He's also hinted that he's hoping to secure a celebrity chef to cook up the burger at the tasting event.