The era of exotic meats grown to order--with no animals killed in the process--could be on its way. This summer in London, Dr. Mark Post's team from Maastricht University is at long last going to serve up the famous burger made from beef cells grown in a laboratory bioreactor.
The highly anticipated in-vitro meat has been under development for years, and the project has cost a reported quarter-million euros. Cells are extracted from living animals and cultured in the lab on a diet of glucose and amino acids, where they grow into small strips of muscle tissue. In order for the tissue to be more than a flabby gel, it must be exercised regularly. Thousands of the strips pressed together amount to a burger's worth of meat.