Dr. Mark Post, the head of physiology at Maastricht University in the Netherlands, is planning to unveil a whole burger made from lab-grown meat this October. Dr. Post says that lab-grown meat will provide a necessary alternative to meat from livestock, as demand for meat is expected to double in the next 40 years. If this happens, any meat product will become an expensive luxury.
The meat is made by extracting stem cells from cow skeletal muscle, which are then grown in a laboratory. They are placed between Velcro and, as they develop, the cells flex and contract. So far, Dr. Post and his team have grown sheets of meat that are 1.18 inches long, .59 inches wide, and .02 inches thick. To get a whole burger, 3,000 pieces of muscle and hundreds of pieces of fatty tissue will have to be chopped up and then pressed into a patty.
If Dr. Post is successful, he estimates that the number of livestock used for meat can be reduced by one million. Not only that, but stem cells from different animals could also be used, creating more exotic fare.
Since lab-grown meat would be heavily controlled at each step in its manufacturing process, scientists would be able to manipulate the tissue being used to have a certain texture, or to have to lower or higher levels of nutrients and fats.
Of course, so far there is no guarantee that the resulting patty will look or taste like real meat. So it is highly possible that the end product will look like something that was grown in a lab.