August 5, 2014
One year ago today the world’s first entirely laboratory-grown beef patty was assembled, cooked, and consumed.
The vatburger was made from stem cells taken from a cow. These cells were replicated and encouraged to develop into muscle tissue.
The in vitro burger was entirely composed of protein-containing muscle cells. These cells were grown without the aid of blood and lack their color-containing pigment molecules (hemoglobin). Red beet juice and saffron were added to color the largely colorless mass of muscle tissue. Bread crumbs, salt, and egg powder were also added for flavor and better binding. The sugars present in the extra ingredients and on the surface of the meat cells allowed the burger to brown when cooked.
The burger was split and shared among a panel of tasters. Most agreed that it had the texture of meat, but the flavor was lacking. Though browning gives some flavor, fats and fat cells are conspicuously absent in the vatburger.
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