Scientists Grow Meat in Lab, Plan Frankenburger

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Feb. 21 2012 2:10 PM

Scientists Grow Meat in Lab, Plan Frankenburger

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(Ground pork purchased at a local discount supermarket lies on a plate in this photo illustration on February 8, 2012 in Berlin, Germany.)

Photo Illustration by Sean Gallup/Getty Images

It's not supersize-able yet, but the McLab meal is definitely on its way.

Dutch scientists have created strips of muscle tissue using stem cells and, focusing on what’s important in life, also plan to grow an artificial hamburger by the end of the year.

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One step for mankind, one giant leap for the fast food industry? Don't worry, there are better motivations at work here. Professor Mark Post told the BBC that his team's goal is to reduce the environmental footprint of meat and to prove that the process has the potential to be practical and economically viable. He believes that synthetic meat could be produced over three times as efficiently as regular meat, which currently requires 100 grams of food to create 15 grams of meat.  

But … what will it taste like? In a word: bland. Post believes they'll need to work separately to figure out which components in meat produce its taste and then replicate that, too. He'd like to use celebrity chef Heston Blumenthal to cook the inaugural burger, but it sounds like it might have to come with extra ketchup.

Ben Johnson is the producer of Marketplace Tech from American Public Media.

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