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Scientists serve up $373,000 test tube burger

Karl Mathiesen (via SMH) | Aug. 6, 2013
''Frankenburger'' could dramatically reduce the energy, land and water use and greenhouse gas emissions involved in meat production, according to a 2011 study at Oxford University.

The use of antibiotics in farming has been blamed for an increase in treatment-resistant diseases affecting humans.

''There are basically three things that can happen going forward,'' said Mr Brin. ''One is that we all become vegetarian. I don't think that's really likely. The second is we ignore the issues and that leads to continued environmental harm. And the third option is we do something new.''

The project cost €250,000 ($373,000). All of the funding came from Mr Brin, one of the world's richest entrepreneurs.Using knowledge borrowed from medical science, Professor Post harmlessly removed stem cells from the shoulder of a cow and placed them in a petri dish where they self-replicated and created tiny strands of meat. The 140g patty was constructed by carefully knitting together 20,000 such strands.

Australia is one of the world's largest meat producers. Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) estimate the national industry's value at $16 billion.

MLA Marketing Manager Andrew Cox raised concerns over the potential impact on farmers.

''Currently in a country like Australia you have a lot of grasslands, which are extremely marginal for other uses, which we are using to turn something inedible into something edible. With many thousands of Australians being sustained in the production of essential foods,'' he said.

Professor Post said there would ''always be farmers'' and that the technology was not intended to entirely replace traditional meat production but to reduce our reliance on it.


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