80,000 Quarter Pounders from a single cell sample

1.8 kilograms of greenhouse gases, the quantity of water required to take six-minute showers every day for a month and 2.5 kilograms of livestock feed. This is what your 100-gram beef burger actually costs. And this doesn’t even include the manure surplus and the destruction of the rain forests. Just fantastic, isn’t it?

By 2050, the global demand for meat will be 70% higher than it is now. Professor Mark Post of Maastricht University decided it was time to take action. He developed the first hamburger that didn’t involve a butcher. Taking a biopsy, he removes a few stem cells from the muscle tissue of a cow. He puts this in a petri dish with a nutrient-rich serum. The cells divide just like they would in a live animal. This is cultured meat; delicious, healthier and better for the environment plus it’s animal-friendly. One cell sample can generate up to 80,000 Quarter Pounders.

Based at the Brightlands Maastricht Health Campus, Post’s company Mosa Meat is growing rapidly from a start-up to a scale-up. Post hopes to be able to produce 50 kilos of cultured meat per week three years from now. The price for this ecological burger will have to drop to a level acceptable for consumers. If the way things are going are any indication, this will succeed. The first cultured meat burger cost 200,000 Euros to make in 2013, and may now end up in a skillet for just nine Euros.

Prof. Dr. Mark Post teaches physiology at Maastricht University. He is the Chief Scientific Officer at Mosa Meat, and Peter Verstrate is the CEO. Mosa Meat was nominated for the 2019 Academic Start-Up Competition.

  I have a goal and I go for it. I believe making hamburgers to achieve a sustainability goal is just as valuable as making blood vessels for people.”

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