Right Turn: Innovation you can sink your teeth into

Author: Stacey Johnson, 07/26/13

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Culinary connoisseurs prep your palettes for the world’s first stem cell burger tasting to be held in London, England, on August 5.

Dr. Mark Post, a Dutch scientist from the University of Maastricht, is the man behind the meat. The hamburger is over five years in the making, due to the need to fine-tune the process (a whopping 20,000 muscle fibers) and has cost $325,500 to produce. Holy cow!

The in vitro beef is grown from myosatellite cells that are extracted from the bovine muscle of a cow. These cells are incubated in fetal calf serum, where they differentiate into muscle cells and merge into myotubes, or muscle fibres.

Meat grown in a Petri dish isn’t the most appealing of concepts; however, if it is successful it could revolutionize the food and agriculture industries, a worthy innovation considering recent findings published by PLOS ONE that reveal there won’t be enough food for the world’s population by 2050.

If the production price drops, in vitro meat will be able to feed the population and save millions of cows in the process, delighting animal activists and creating moral dilemmas for vegetarians worldwide.

Check out the video extract taken from “Dara O Brian’s Science Club,” for a taste of how the muscle fibres are created. Culinary cowards be warned, the meat preparation process may be hard to stomach:

Do you find the concept of in vitro meat innovative or creepy? Dig in to the debate further by leaving comments below.

Today’s Right Turn is brought to you by Erin Sugar at the Centre for Commercialization of Regenerative Medicine. Erin’s love of hamburgers was not harmed by the viewing of this video.

Our regular feature, Right Turn, showcases the “lighter” side of stem cells and regenerative medicine. Every Friday, we will bring you cartoons, photos, videos and other content that may be just as thought provoking as the written submissions that you are used to finding here, but they definitely won’t be blogs.

As always, we welcome your feedback and we also welcome suitable submissions. Be creative! Use the right (!) side of your brain. Make us laugh! Let’s see if we can make this new direction a positive one for all of us. Send your submission to info(at)ccrm.ca.

Reference cited:
Ray D.K., Mueller N.D., West P.C., Foley J.A. & Hart J.P. (2013). Yield Trends Are Insufficient to Double Global Crop Production by 2050, PLoS ONE, 8 (6) e66428. DOI:

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Stacey Johnson

Stacey Johnson

For almost 20 years, Stacey has been providing strategic communications counsel to government, corporate, technology and health organizations. Prior to that, Stacey was at the CTV Television Network, first as a researcher, then as a story producer for “Goldhawk Fights Back,” a special ombudsman segment that aired weekly on the National News and Canada AM. Before joining CCRM as the Director, Communications and Marketing, Stacey was the Director of Communications for the Canadian Arthritis Network. Stacey is editor of Signals. You can follow Stacey on Twitter @msstaceyerin.
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