back to article Sergey Brin's 'test-tube burger' cooked, eaten, declared meat-like

The first burger made from cultured beef grown in a laboratory was publicly cooked and eaten in London on Monday, and test subjects have pronounced the result "close to meat." The burger was the brainchild of Professor Mark Post of Maastricht University in the Netherlands, who constructed the artificial patty from 3,000 strips …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Strange how the homeless population near the research lab dropped dramatically.

  2. Fehu
    Pint

    Take your dirty hands off of me you damn, stinking ...

    No, wait that's the wrong angry Charlton Heston quote.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Take your dirty hands off of me you damn, stinking ...

      >1.4 billion people in the world are overweight and obese,.... one billion people worldwide go to bed hungry

      An obvious solution suggests itself and it doesn't require testubes

  3. Winston Smith

    A burger that is almost...

    but not entirely, unlike meat.

    1. Geoff Campbell
      FAIL

      Re: I think you mean:

      A burger that is almost, but not quite, entirely unlike meat.

      Don't tamper with the classics, dude!

      GJC

    2. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

      Re: A burger that is almost...

      Post and his team mixed the meat strips with egg, breadcrumbs, salt, caramel, and saffron.

      To make it a proper scientific test, did they create a second burger with only the above ingredients, plus the red beet colouring, to see if anyone:

      a) Noticed the difference

      b) Preferred the meat one

      ?

      Damn, I am now hungry, and it's only just gone breakfast time.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Colour me unimpressed

    Might as well spend the money refining the soya burger, or find an alternative protein source with a similar fibre length to beef (the fungus used in Quorn is close). It'll be a lot cheaper.

    1. Geoff Campbell
      Boffin

      Re: Colour me unimpressed

      I'd be more convinced by that is Quorn wasn't so damned expensive. I cook with it occasionally, it's really good in curries and similar, but it's generally possible to get chicken for about the same price, or even cheaper.

      GJC

      1. Anonymous Coward #69

        Re: Colour me unimpressed

        "I'd be more convinced by that is Quorn wasn't so damned expensive."

        It's probably because there's not a lot of demand for it. Economies of scale would quickly drive the price down if it was the only feasible source of protein around.

        1. wowfood

          Re: Colour me unimpressed

          Personally I'm against the soya burger, if only because anything soya leads to me painting the bathroom a different color. Which is a pain because they keep sneaking it in with some foods.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Colour me unimpressed

            And I don't like soy because it increases oestrogen. Then I have to do more work outs to stay fit.

            1. Thorne

              Re: Colour me unimpressed

              "And I don't like soy because it increases oestrogen. Then I have to do more work outs to stay fit."

              Ah so that's what makes PETA supporters such whiny little bitches......

  5. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

    Cats falling down stairs and other Internet imagery, continued.

    Are people getting dumber? Yes they are!

    But critics of Post's approach say it would be better to convince people to eat less meat

    This isn't meat.

    "We have a situation where 1.4 billion people in the world are overweight and obese

    Signs of progress and fructose.

    and at the same time one billion people worldwide go to bed hungry

    Signs of bad distribution, government intervention (going from subsidies in rich countries to export orientation in poor ones) and missing capital-intensive infrastructure (rampant collectivism, banditism, statism and other ills).

    Professor Tara Garnett of Oxford University's Food Policy Research Network told the BBC

    He should know.

    That's just weird and unacceptable

    Is it?

    The solutions don't just lie with producing more food but changing the systems of supply and access and affordability, so not just more food but better food gets to the people who need it.

    Being part of the central planning problem, I see.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Cats falling down stairs and other Internet imagery, continued.

      But critics of Post's approach say it would be better to convince people to eat less meat

      This isn't meat.

      They aren't trying to convince you to eat less of this, genius.

      "We have a situation where 1.4 billion people in the world are overweight and obese

      Signs of progress and fructose.

      Ah no, it's a sign of consuming more calories than you burn.

      Professor Tara Garnett of Oxford University's Food Policy Research Network told the BBC

      He should know.

      You should really pay attention. Or are you one of those who don't believe women can be professors ..

      The solutions don't just lie with producing more food but changing the systems of supply and access and affordability, so not just more food but better food gets to the people who need it.

      Being part of the central planning problem, I see.

      Nobody said anything about central planning.

      Are people getting dumber? Yes they are!

      q.e.d.

      1. oolor
        Holmes

        Re: Cats falling down stairs and other Internet imagery, continued.

        Ah no, it's a sign of consuming more calories than you burn.

        Metabolism is a little more complicated than calories in and out or even macronutrient distributions. And the body does not 'burn' calories. Metabolic rates can vary greatly in response to similar events, even in the same person at different times. The only constant is resting metabolic rate which is linked to lean tissue regardless or age, gender, or fitness level.

        You should really pay attention. Or are you one of those who don't believe women can be professors ..

        Everyone knows women profess. And profess...

        Nobody said anything about central planning.

        Right, but nobody has any way to enforce distribution recommendations without resorting to central planning, so considering the original point was somewhere between facetious and satire, this is a funny corner to paint oneself into.

        q.e.d.

        That was a beautiful proof of the axiom as posited.

  6. Pete 2 Silver badge

    Condiments

    > What was consistently different was flavour

    Which is exactly why we invented hot chilli sauce (and beer). Enough of either of those and you really won't care whether it tastes like meat. As many a burger van owner will attest.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Condiments

      So you might as well get rid of the meat and have a quorn burger if you don't really want to taste the meat.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Condiments

      What do you want?

    3. Mike Flugennock
      Thumb Up

      Re: Condiments

      ...Which is exactly why we invented hot chilli sauce (and beer). Enough of either of those and you really won't care whether it tastes like meat. As many a burger van owner will attest.

      ...and many the owner of a bar'n'grill which serves "buffalo wings" with their pitchers of beer at happy hour.

      Dave Barry had a wonderful column some years back in which he defines the term "buffalo wings" as "to be eaten by guys who are drinking beer". He theorizes, based on his own experience -- along with, likely, myself and millions of other guys -- that the "buffalo wings" served at bar'n'grill happy hours are actually the same chicken wings slathered with hot sauce, brought out to beer-drinking guys to be gnawed on for a while, taken back to the kitchen and, instead of being discarded, are put through the dishwasher, re-heated, re-slathered with hot sauce, and brought back out to be served to a different bunch of guys drinking beer.

  7. Mr Young
    Pint

    And there we have it!

    A burger that can survive warp drive - another vital ingredient

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why bother? just eat a Quorn burger, it's tastier and a damn sight cheaper.

    It's almost like these rich geeks feel it is their purpose in life to make bad sci-fi concepts reality.

    1. Fibbles

      Quorn is tasty?

      Pull the other one...

      1. wowfood

        Re: Quorn is tasty?

        Quorn is tasty, if you enjoy the taste of carboard.

    2. Thecowking
      Happy

      "It's almost like these rich geeks feel it is their purpose in life to make bad sci-fi concepts reality."

      You say that like it's a bad thing.

      Shadowrun implants next please.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Windows

    ahem...

    Coloured if you please.

    UK Site, London story. English language.

    Thank you for your attention in this matter....

  10. Graham Dawson
    Megaphone

    Who's the shill from the national quorn marketing board?

    1. That Awful Puppy
      Trollface

      Probably just a vegementalist, with this 'quorn' (I'll admit to being ignorant on this matter, living quite blissfully in a country that is a few years behind every health food fad) being the newest and the greatest of what basically amounts to the proverbial carrot garden in a nunnery - i.e. a poor substitute for something they allegedly don't miss at all.

  11. Fink-Nottle

    "Fresh from the petri dish, the in vitro beef looks white."

    So, a bit like chicken then?

    1. graeme leggett Silver badge

      no, they just reinvented veal

  12. deshepherd

    Sounded fine to me ... until they mentioned use of beetroot to provide colour and I'm afraid for me that is a step too far out of the realms of edible food!

    1. DougS Silver badge

      Don't worry

      I'm sure if McDonalds started using this they wouldn't use beetroot for color, but something more familiar to fast food eaters like Red Dye #40.

  13. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Thumb Up

    They were able to turn micoprotein into Quorn. I think turning beef muscle stem cells into "meat"

    will likely to be fairly easy, given the shift is much simpler.

    Usual note this is v 0.1 tech.

    Odd I've never thought of Maastricht as a world capital for Haut Cuisine before.

    So thumbs up for something I first discussed in "The Space Merchants" from the early 1950s.

  14. Herby Silver badge

    So, £250,000 for a burger patty??

    So that "quarter-pounder with cheese" will cost you a pretty penny.

    Me? I headed off to get my $5.00 burger at the local drive-thru.

    1. wowfood

      Re: So, £250,000 for a burger patty??

      Now that one person has made a burger that cost 250k, you know that we'll soon see the "Millionaires krabby patty" whcih will cost around the same amount, but is probably just a normal krabby patty.

  15. Hungry Sean
    Go

    not such a terrible idea

    I suspect that the vast majority of beef ends up as ground beef that gets served up at fast food joints or otherwise processed beyond recognition. From the Guardian's coverage of this burger, it sounds like one hope is that the meat could be produced much more efficiently than present farming methods can achieve.

    Seems like it'd be appropriate for a lot of the applications of ground beef-- judging by my memories of the last time I ate a "beef taco" at Taco Bell, I think it's a fair possibility this might even improve the quality.

    By reducing the need for mass produced beef, I would expect cattle raising to shift its focus back to producing meat that tastes, well, beefy. Everyone gets cheaper, easier access to meat, meat from real cows goes up in quality, and various negative environmental consequences of cattle ranching can have a reduced economic impetus. Win-win-win.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: not such a terrible idea

      Modern cattle ranching has yet to reach the scale of the vast, vast bison herds of pre-colonisation north america. All of that methane and dung missing from the ecosystem. Such a shame we can't replace it despite our best efforts.

  16. bert_fe

    It is not that simple

    We have evolved to eat other animals. We expect their meat to be red apart from chicken and lots of other delicious animals such as oysters and lobsters. Pure protein is quite white! It is the contaminants of other molecules that colour it! In an psychopathic ideal world your best meal is one of your own species. A fully balanced diet! Insects and many other species have no such qualms they eat their young and each other even while having sex with gay abandon. I welcome this first step to circumvent billions of years of evolution. Meanwhile I will stick to my primitive blood lust of eating things that bleed when you kill them.

    My job back in the 1950's as a young boy was to kill chickens and other animals for the family to eat. We raised these animals and it was hard for me to even do what I did. It was survival not abject cruelty. It was swift and clean, I hope. Bert

    1. oolor

      Re: It is not that simple

      I would go further and say that the best meat would be the rump of an early adolescent female (much like any farmed or game meat since as the animal gets older the meat gets tougher and in males testosterone also has additional deleterious effects on meat quality). Although the hungry cannibal who is late for dinner may have to do with the cold shoulder. Note the previous is jest minus comments about meat quality, I doubt that eating one's own species is any more nutritious than many of the other vertebrates easier to catch and explain to the tribe/[whatever authorities may ask such inconvenient questions].

      Those contaminants are very important for the nutrients contained within, for example the heme iron in hemoglobin and myoglobin is extremely important for humans as plant-based iron sources suffer absorption issues unless taken with vitamin C, this product notably lacks these proteins, and thus the iron which is in my opinion the real issue, less so the taste. The lack of fat also concerns me as it helps many important nutrients absorb.

      Regarding the chickens, I learned that lesson early, when I was four, my grandfather had to put down a calf that he an my uncles had said was mine days earlier. I went crazy and threatened to cut my grandfather's and my dad's cousin's throat (he was the village butcher). My aunts calmed me down and explained it to me so by lunch I was eating freshly made veal beside my grandfather. I think too many people are separated from realities like this and are then prone to extreme representations as commonplace and vice-versa.

    2. JonP
      Flame

      Re: It is not that simple - cannibalism

      Presumably if they can work out how to grow convincing tasting/feeling beef, they could work out how to grow any type of meat you wanted...

      Flame grilled.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: In an psychopathic ideal world your best meal is one of your own species.

      ... because that worked just so well for the cows.

      1. Graham Dawson

        Re: In an psychopathic ideal world your best meal is one of your own species.

        BSE resulted from eating brain matter, which is a bad idea in general anyway and a terrible idea for a ruminant like a cow. Stick to the steak and you're fine.

  17. Mr Lion
    Terminator

    Quorn is not a health food fad!

    Quorn was invented way back in the day by some malthusian cynics who believed that the world was running out of cheap protein. They had evidently seen Soylent Green, read the Omen and had smoked something enlightening.

    Obviously devastated to find that the food kept on failing to run out - so hit on a bonzer wheeze to make it a "health food"...what software marketing people call "the pivot". So unprepared were they for this change in focus that they only moved to using free range eggs in around 2000 - up to then all your vegger mates were eating battery farmed eggs binding together their weirdy cultured fungus proteins...

    Quorn is not a health food fad - it's a bona fide science

  18. Amorous Cowherder
    Facepalm

    So basically it's form of Quorn, ie manufactured food grown in a lab, except one is made from mushrooms and this new thing from an animal "soup". £250,000 for all this when you can get a packet of Linda McCartney's veggie burgers down TESCO for £3?! One born every minute!

    To quote Martin Crane from Frasier, "No Frasier food is not to die for, your country and your flag are to die for. This is just food, you eat it, you're not hungry. That's it.".

    1. Graham Dawson
      Angel

      Wasn't he talking about a steak?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      > your country and your flag are to die for.

      He wasn't British, wasn't he? I was always taught that the idea is not to die for your country, but for the enemy to die for his.

      Maybe things have changed since then.

  19. wowfood

    I imagine part of the taste problem is the lack of fats etc. Whenever I've made burgers at home it's always the fatty cuts you use to make burgers. Any lean meats tend to dry out a bit and leave less flavour, while the fat melts a tad and gives it a much better taste.

    Man... I want a steak burger.

  20. MrDamage

    Sounds like the Ribwich

    "We start with authentic, letter-graded meat, and process the hell out of it."

  21. Dan 55 Silver badge
    Terminator

    Yeah, thanks Sergey

    Anything else we can think of or finance that brings a dystopian future just that little bit closer?

  22. Stoneshop Silver badge
    Pirate

    "We have a situation where 1.4 billion people in the world are overweight and obese, and at the same time one billion people worldwide go to bed hungry,"

    That's 1.4 fattie per, should not only solve the malnourishment problems, but also, as a side effect, reduce use of natural resources such as petrol, textile fibres and large cars

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "close to meat, but not that juicy"

    Well done, Sergey, you've invented the Big Mac.

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