Strips of lab-grown muscle. [Image: BBC video]

The potential lab-grown burger that was in the news last November is back in the news after Dr. Mark Post—head of physiology at Maastricht University in the Netherlands and head of the team making the lab-grown meat—announced this past Sunday at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Vancouver that he expects to have a complete lab-grown burger this October. The price tag: about €250,000 ($331,375).

Lab-grown meat would provide an important alternative to livestock meat as the worldwide demand for meat rises, and it would help cut down on environmentally-harmful methane, says Post. He doesn't expect mass production of the meat for another 10 to 20 years.

More information on how the meat is grown, from The Guardian:

Post and his team of six have so far grown thin sheets of cow muscle measuring 3cm long, 1.5cm wide, and half a millimetre thick. To make a burger will take 3,000 pieces of muscle and a few hundred pieces of fatty tissue, that will be minced together and pressed into a patty.

Each piece of muscle is made by extracting stem cells from cow muscle tissue and growing them in containers in the laboratory. The cells are grown in a culture medium containing foetal calf serum, which contains scores of nutrients the cells need to grow.

The slivers of muscle grow between pieces of Velcro and flex and contract as they develop. To make more protein in the cells - and so improve the texture of the tissue - the scientists shock them with an electric current.

Post plans on asking celebrity chef Heston Blumenthal to cook the burger when it's ready.

About the author: Robyn Lee is the editor of A Hamburger Today and takes many of the photos for Serious Eats. She'll also doodle cute stuff when necessary. Read more from Robyn at her personal food blog, The Girl Who Ate Everything.


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