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Artificial Meat 6 Months Away, Hamburger In A Year, Say Scientists

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Synthetic meat may not sound too appetizing, but scientists at the University of Maastricht in the Netherlands say a lab grown sausage is just six months away, reports The Telegraph.

In the latest artificial meat experiment, scientists have grown synthetic sausages from pig cells fed by horse serum, reports The Herald Sun.

But it's not just bio-engineering sausages scientists are experimenting with. Dutch scientist Dr. Mark Post, who led the research, predicts other lab grown meat could be on its way, too."I'm hopeful we can have a hamburger in a year," he told The New Scientist. But that could cost over $350,000 (250,000 euros) to develop, reports The Telegraph.

Yet there are a couple of barriers to this incredible invention. According to the Herald Sun, the color of the meat is white due to the lack of blood and as a result it doesn't look very appetizing.

The concept of home grown meat is nothing new. Reuters reported in January that a developmental biologist and tissue engineer, Dr. Mironov, 56, is one of the few scientists who's been bioengineering "cultured" meat for the past decade.

It seems fitting that Dutch food scientists are the latest group of researchers to move closer to slaughter free meat, especially since the idea first originated in their home country. According to a Michael Specter's Test Tube Burgers article in the New Yorker, the thought of growing your own meat was first born from Dutch World War II veteran veteran Willem van Eelen:

After the war, he studied psychology at the University of Amsterdam, but he struggled with the intertwined memories of starvation and animal abuse in the camps. At one lecture, he was seized by an idea: "Why can't we grow meat outside of the body? Make it in a laboratory, as we make so many other things."

Though this current Dutch grown sausage is not yet approved for human consumption, environmentalists who've taken up a meat-free lifestyle may find themselves in an interesting position when this synthetic phenomenon comes to fruition. In addition to waste and huge water consumption, livestock is responsible for some 18% of the world's carbon emission. If you remove the animal suffering and carbon emissions from the equation, and you don't have a problem with using stem cell technology, there's only health and economic reasons to stay vegetarian.

In 2009 PETA announced a competition to give $1 million to the scientist who could create the first marketable lab grown meat by 2012.

According to Fox News, London's Royal Society last month released a global food supply report advocating for synthetic meat as possible solution for feeding the world's 9 billion 2050, without destroying the planet. The only barriers? Overcoming the social stigma and the RS scientists say it could take another decade before it rolls out to the masses.

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