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Continued: Question and answers about growing hamburger in the laboratory

  • Article by: MARIA CHENG , AP Medical Writer
  • Last update: August 5, 2013 - 12:05 PM

A: Yes. The science is theoretically the same, so the same techniques should also allow researchers to make chicken, fish, lamb, etc. Dutch researcher Mark Post, who led the research on the lab-made hamburger, initially started working with pig cells before switching to cows. He said it would even be possible to make meat products from other animals like penguins, though he has no plans to start on that.

Q: Can they make other meat products?

A: At the moment, scientists are only working on making processed or minced meat, because that is the easiest kind to replicate. Processed meat accounts for about half of the meat market. Post said it should be possible to make more complicated cuts like steaks or chops in the future, but that involves using more advanced tissue engineering techniques. He estimates that it might be possible to make a steak in about 20 years.

Q: Perhaps most importantly, what does it taste like?

A: Apparently it's a little bland. At a public tasting on Monday in London, two food experts said the texture was convincing but that it lacked flavor; the lab-made burger does not contain any fat, but was cooked in oil and butter. Post said he wanted people to taste the burger without condiments, in its purest form.

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