Next Week, Very Wealthy People Will Eat Test Tube Burgers for the First Time

Comments

1
It's a dream for anyone concerned about husbanding resources. Even the vegans should be delighted. The rich benefactor behind the research wants to take living cattle out of the beef industry. Glorious.
2
As far as I can see, he hasn't published his methods (the only thing I can see on this by Post-MJ in PubMed is a review; the full text is not readily available (I can't even see a link) and in any case it's not a research paper); it's worth pointing out that a lot of cultured cells are grown on media containing FBS, Fetal Bovine Serum, which is exactly what it sounds like. I don't know whether that's true for these cultured cells, or not.
3
"One funny thing about very rich people is that they eventually get to the point where they'll happily pay absurd amounts of money to be guinea pigs."

Suits me just fine.
4
Oh dear, what if Hannibal Lecter should make a switch in the kitchen?
5
Sounds awesome. I'm looking forward to this being available. How long before the beef industry launches a fear based smear campaign?
6
Re: 2, because the word "serum" is used loosely in the vernacular ("truth serum"; a reference to a vaccine or antivenin; cosmetics, etc.), it should be clarified that fetal bovine serum is not a product FOR fetal bovines (cows), but a product OF them (i.e., bovine fetuses are harvested at slaughter and their blood harvested before clotting; then red and white blood cells as well as clotting proteins are removed).

I've been out of biomedicine for quite awhile now and I know that progress has been made in serum-free growth media for cultured mammalian cells, but as @2 points out, it's not clear whether that's true in the synthetic-meat case. If not, the "news" is equivalent to "magician pulls rabbit out of hat, after inserting rabbit in hat."
7
(old man outside lab) "Soylent Beef is made from People!"
8
@ 5, as long as it takes for this to become something anyone but billionaires can afford.
9
@ 1, "Even the vegans should be delighted."

Since this started with the stem cells of a slaughtered cow, and not one that was gently raised and then let loose into the wild, I wouldn't count on it.
10
The word "synthetic" seems to be inapt here; this substance is not manufactured like Gardenburgers, but is actually derived from a cow product (stem cells).
11
@9, 10: It still has the possibility of greatly reducing the number of living cattle needed for stem cells, because the number of divisions that can be obtained from cultured cells far exceeds what they usually do in their natural milieu.

I'm not finding a reference quickly in Google, but the fibroblasts in a single human neonatal foreskin (which are not even stem cells) can produce many square meters (probably more) of cultured cells, which is why they use them for skin grafts.
12
Vegans will be happy until this leads to the extinction of the cow.
13
@ 11, I know that, and you know that. But will that matter to vegans? Some will probably see the sense there, but others won't. Besides, it would greatly reduce the number of cattle slaughtered if we just stopped eating so goddamned much meat. We really don't need it every single day, never mind as part of every meal.

I wonder exactly how much of a carbon footprint this process has. Maybe it isn't much. Also, I also wonder if it's to the benefit of humanity to use labs this way. I wonder if the meat will taste like much of anything? (A lot of meat's flavor is derived from the animal's diet, which is why industrialized meat is blander and without character as compared to old-fashioned pasture-raised meat.)

Another question. Can this laboratory be better utilized than synthesizing meat for human consumption? Is stem cell research growing so exponentially that they have room left over for things like synthesizing meat, rather than focusing it all on medicine?
14
If they really wanted to be adventurous, they could try making burgers from HeLa cells, which came from the cancerous cervix of Henrietta Lacks in 1951.

Unlimited growth potential due to cancerous transformation, so no further donor animals needed.

You're welcome, vegans.
15
Paul: I think the article refers to the total cost of the patty and not what the guests will pay for it. It is considered the most expensive piece of meat because it costs £250,000 to make it. They say the sponsor of the project might be the first one to taste it, but they are not all rich guinea pigs. This is my cent of clarity of the day.
16
@15 And the astronauts are drinking $10,000 Tang if you add the cost of Tang and the cost of putting a gallon of it into orbit, not to mention development costs!
17
Here's one of those "Baby TED" things, a talk he did: http://www.tedxbrainport.nl/earlier-edit…

And a Guardian writeup from last year, with some juicy pull quotes from him about vegetarians and panda meat. http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/20…
18
@14 but that's cannibalveganism!
19
"Trendy Manhattan burger bar serves up latest flavor: "long pig" made from human stem cells"

Brought to you by Headlines from 2021,
20
"People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta), which runs a scheme offering a prize of $1m (£660,000) for the first person or organisation to produce artificial chicken meat, said that cultured meat would be ethically acceptable if it meant less slaughtering.

"We do support lab-grown meat if it means fewer animals are eaten. Anything that reduces the suffering of animals would be welcome," said Ben Williamson, a Peta spokesman."

Ok, Slog vegans, what say you - if PETA gives it their blessing to this stuff, will you eat it?
21
@20 No. Every vegan I have asked (and myself) thinks it's disgusting.

It's not for vegans. It's for meat eaters looking to be less guilty.
22
Real food grows in the dirt. Not in petri dishes. Period. This shit sounds disgusting. Little meat maggots the size of a grain of rice all mushed together to form a patty. Dude, who would eat that?
23
@ 21, I think you misunderstand - he wasn't asking if you would eat it. And I don't believe they are creating this with "guilt alleviation" as a motive (omnivores don't feel guilty eating meat).*

But you do answer @20's question as I understand it. For you vegans (some of you - PETA is not in agreement), meat is meat is meat, and it's all murder, even when it is not.

* Omnivores looking to improve the lives of meat animals already do so by eating less meat (we simply eat way too much in the USA) and getting only humane, pasture-raised meat. Sure, we still kill them, but that's their place in the food web.
24
Mmm, mmm, mmm! Roast beef au growth medium!
25
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