Scientists yesterday unveiled the world's first lab-grown beef burger, serving it up to volunteers in London in what they hope is the start of a food revolution.
The 140 gramme (about five ounce) patty, which cost more than 250,000 euros ($330,000) to produce, has been made using strands of meat grown from muscle cells taken from a living cow.
Mixed with salt, egg powder and breadcrumbs to improve the taste, and coloured with red beetroot juice and saffron, researchers claim it will taste similar to a normal burger.
Professor Mark Post of Maastricht University in the Netherlands, whose lab developed the meat, says the burger is safe and has the potential to replace normal meat in the diets of millions of people.
He brought it into a news conference at a TV studio on a tray covered in a metal cloche.
The patty was served to two volunteers, US-based food author Josh Schonwald and Austrian food researcher Hanni Ruetzler.
After taking a mouthful, she said: "I was expecting the texture to be more soft... I know there is no fat in it so I didn't know how juicy it would be.
"It's close to meat. It's not that juicy. The consistency is perfect (but) I miss salt and pepper!"
Sergey Brin, one of Google's co-founders, was revealed as one of the financial backers of the project.
He said in a video message: "Sometimes when technology comes along, it has the capability to transform how we view our world. I like to look at technology opportunities. When technology seems like it is on the cusp of viability and if it succeeds there, it can be really transformative for the world."