Vat-Grown Burgers Getting Cheaper

William Gibson wrote about vat-grown meat more than thirty years ago; finally, it seems we're getting to the point where you might be able to order it soon.

Even Australia's cattlemen are getting the message.

MICHAEL BRISSENDEN: The scientist who served up the world's first laboratory grown beef burger believes so-called "cultured meat" could spell the end of traditional cattle farming within just a few decades.

That's not the news Australia's multi-billion dollar beef industry wants to hear but it's the message that Dutch Professor Mark Post will be taking to the Northern Territory Cattlemen's Association today when he addresses their annual conference in Darwin.

National regional reporter Dominique Schwartz reports.

(Sound of a sizzling barbeque)

DOMINIQUE SCHWARTZ: Beef is an Aussie barbeque staple - but in the future it's more likely to come from the laboratory than the cattle station, according to Maastricht University Professor Mark Post.

MARK POST: I do think that in 20, 30 years from now we will have a viable industry producing alternative beef.

DOMINIQUE SCHWARTZ: He says traditional meat sources will not be able to satisfy the world's growing demand for protein, and that cattle, in particular are an inefficient use of resources

MARK POST: Cattle are very inefficient animals in converting vegetable proteins into animal proteins. We lose actually a lot of food by giving it to animals as an intermediate.

At an environmental scale in methane and other greenhouse gases exhaust, it is also for the environment not a very healthy system.

DOMINIQUE SCHWARTZ: A year and a half ago the professor of vascular physiology gave the world its first taste of a beef burger he'd grown from stem cells taken from cow muscle.

It passed the food critics' taste test, but at more than a quarter of a million dollars, the lab quarter-pounder was no threat to the real deal. Now, after further development, Dr Post estimates it's possible to produce lab-beef for $80 a kilo - and that within years it will be a price-competitive alternative.

MARK POST: From a small piece of muscle you can produce 10,000 kilos of meat.

Via Fast and ABC Australia.

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