The first meatballs made from laboratory-produced meat will be cooked today.
The first meatballs produced in a laboratory in the world will be introduced at a press conference in London today.
The scientists took cells from a cow and turned them into muscle fibers by growing them in a laboratory environment at an institute in the Netherlands.
The BBC entered this laboratory where the project worth 330 thousand dollars was carried out and investigated the details of the project. The name behind the project, Professor Mark Post from Maastricht University, said, “Today, we will present you the world's first meatball made from cells in the laboratory. The main reason we are doing this study is that livestock production is not good for the environment, production will not be enough to meet the demand, and this is not a suitable environment for the welfare of the animals," he said.
The scientists who carried out the research multiplied the stem cells obtained from the muscle cells of a cow with various chemicals and nutrients in the laboratory. They divided the more than a million stem cells they had obtained in three weeks into small containers. The stem cells continued to reproduce in these vessels, turning into muscle fibers one centimeter long and a few millimeters thick.
The fibers in these containers were frozen and production continued. When sufficient muscle fiber was obtained, these meats were brought together and the first laboratory patties appeared.
Stem cells are the 'master cells' from which special tissues and organs, nerve cells and skin cells are formed in the body.
Many medical institutions are trying to create human tissue for organ transplants using stem cells.
Professor Post wants to transform the same technique and technology into fat and muscle cells to be used for food.
The researchers state that this technology could be a sustainable solution to the problem they describe as the 'increasing need for meat'.
Opposing groups argue that eating less meat is an easier way to deal with food shortages.
Work in progress
Scientists want to produce meat that is initially white in color as close to the real thing as possible. Helen Breewood, one of the research team, is trying to give meat its red color by adding myoglobin, a muscle protein that has the ability to carry oxygen.
“If it doesn't look like regular meat, if it doesn't taste like regular meat, we can't say it's a viable alternative,” Breewood says.
Studies on this subject are still ongoing.
Beetroot juice was used to give red meat color to the meatballs to be cooked for today's press conference. The researchers also added bread, caramel and saffron to flavor the meatballs.
Professor Post said that he could not describe the taste of the meatballs as 'great' in the light of their first attempts, but said that it would be good enough to be eaten.
At this stage, scientists can only produce small quantities of meat over a long period of time. Researchers state that for more production, artificial methods should be applied for oxygen and food to be supplied to the cells to reach and circulate the stem cells.
Source: BBC TURKEY