Hold on to your stomach, it’s time for a lab-grown burger

In Vitro Synthetic MeatMeat products grown in labs, or in vitro meat, has taken a considerable step closer to becoming reality this week, after the University of Maastricht’s Dr. Mark Post revealed pictures of a 2cm long piece of muscle that will eventually become edible meat. He announced his experiment in November last year, although the project has been running for six years.

Engineered from bovine stem cells, the initially white muscle is fed with a nutrient rich concoction, then exercised to help it grow and keep it lean, before being mixed with “blood and artificially grown fat” and arranged in layers to form a steak.

Unsurprisingly, given the amount of care and attention this little muscle needs, it’s a pricey experiment, with the final cost nudging $318,000 or £200,000. That’s an expensive burger.

It won’t even taste very good either, with Post quoted as saying “In the beginning it will taste bland,” before sensibly adding “I think we will need to work on the flavor.”


So why bother? What’s wrong with a good cow-burger? The answer is sustainability, as it’s estimated that within 50 years time, food production will need to double to keep up with the demand. The World Health Organization already notes that annual meat production levels will reach 376 million tonnes by 2030, a huge jump given the recorded 218 million tonnes used between 1997 to 1999.

There’s also the interesting aspect of removing contaminants and possibly engineering “healthier” meat.  E.Coli and BSE would be eradicated, and cholesterol levels could be lowered artificially, not to mention the chance of introducing other vitamins and nutrients to the meat during production.

Environmentalists and animal rights groups also talk about the advantages to the animals themselves, as it would reduce the reliance on slaughterhouses and potentially end the sometimes in-humane treatment of animals destined for our tables. Dr. Post estimates that lab-grown in vitro meat would see the current environmental footprint of meat production reduced by 60-percent.

When will it be ready?

This isn’t the first time synthetic meat has made headlines, and even though it still sounds slightly unpleasant, this method is considerably more palatable than the last experiment we covered, where Japanese scientists created a synthetic meat from reconstituted human feces. Lovely.

Very few arguments against the continued study of in vitro meats can be found at the moment, however the biggest problem it faces is going to be in its taste. If it doesn’t tantalize the taste-buds of the dedicated omnivore, nobody is going to eat it.

Mass-production of synthetic meat products is still said to be 10-20 years away, but Dr. Post hopes to have the first complete “proof of concept” burger ready in October.

Product Review

The Brava Oven takes all the thinking out of cooking

Using bulbs to cook food at different light frequencies, the Brava Oven lets even the clueless cook a tasty meal. But your own smart chef doesn’t come cheap.
Emerging Tech

There’s a new lab-grown meat startup on the block — and it has a secret weapon

Aleph Farms is developing lab-grown steaks with the same flavor, shape, texture, and structure as the real thing using beef cells isolated from living cows. Coming soon to a store near you?
Emerging Tech

Transplanted pig hearts show promise in baboon trials. Are humans next?

Researchers in Germany have successfully transplanted modified pig hearts into baboons. The results take us one step closer to ending organ transplant waiting lists for good. Here's why.
Movies & TV

The best Christmas TV episodes and specials

To help get you in the spirit of the season, we've compiled a list of the best Christmas TV episodes and specials. Whether it's free episodes on your favorite streaming service, or stop-motion classics, look no further.

Take to the skies with these 5 drones on sale for under $50

On the hunt for some cool tech for under $50? We've rounded up 5 drones under $50 that you can still get before Christmas. These models are great for kids, adults, and anyone just getting started with drones.
Emerging Tech

With this robotic garage, retrieving your car is like using a vending machine

Remembering where we parked our cars can be a real pain. But what if our cars came to find us, rather than the other way around? A new automated robot parking valet system aims to help.
Emerging Tech

A lidar-equipped truck knows exactly how much de-icer to apply on roads

Lidar is best known as the laser-based technology that helps self-driving cars sense their surroundings. But the city of Knoxville has another, more seasonal use for it: De-icing roads.

Best Products of 2018

Our reception desk has so many brown boxes stacked up, it looks like a loading dock. We’re on a first-name basis with the UPS guy. We get new dishwashers more frequently than most people get new shoes. What we’re trying to say is: We…
Emerging Tech

This unusual nature-inspired robot is equally at home on land or in the water

This intriguing, nature-inspired robot may look unusual, but it's impressively capable of moving on both land and water without problem. Heck, it can even travel on ice if necessary.
Emerging Tech

This cryptocurrency wallet for kids isn’t nearly as stupid as it sounds

So you’ve taught your 6-year-old child to read, write, and play nice with others. What’s next? Give them a base understanding of cryptocurrency, of course. This Kickstarter aims to help.
Emerging Tech

Light, speed: Lighting kit for DJI Mavic 2 lets you fly and film in the dark

Lume Cube, maker of small battery-powered LED lights for mobile photography, has announced a new lighting kit built specifically for the DJI Mavic 2 -- the first of its kind. Already our favorite drone, this makes the Mavic 2 even better.
Emerging Tech

Prepare for liftoff: Here are all the important upcoming SpaceX rocket launches

From ISS resupply missions to a host of communication and scientific satellite launches, SpaceX has a busy year ahead. Here's a rundown of some of the company's most important missions slated for the next year.
Emerging Tech

Virgin Galactic’s latest test flight takes it to the edge of space

Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic has successfully carried out its fourth powered flight in Mojave, California. It was the company's most ambitious test flight yet -- and bodes well for the future.
Emerging Tech

We’re going to the Red Planet! All the past, present, and future missions to Mars

SpaceX isn't the only organization pining to visit the Red Planet. Here's a detailed list of all operational and planned missions to Mars, along with explanations of their objectives, spacecraft details, and mission proposals.