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Scientists make pork chop from stem cells

world Updated: Jan 17, 2010 21:44 IST

In a scientific breakthrough that could offer an eco-friendly alternative to farming livestock, Dutch scientists claimed to have successfully grown a pork chop from stem cells in a laboratory.

According to the scientists at Maastricht University, The Netherlands, the faux chop is made of 2cm long strips of meat and is said to have the texture of a scallop.

The researchers, who have been growing pork in the laboratory since 2006 but not yet tasted, claimed that the technology promises to have widespread implications for our food supply.

"If we took the stem cells from one pig and multiplied it by a factor of a million, we would need one million fewer pigs to get the same amount of meat," said Mark Post, a biologist at the Dutch university involved in the In-vitro Meat Consortium, a network of publicly funded Dutch research institutions that is carrying out the experiments.

Post describes the texture of the meat as sort of like scallop, firm but a little squishy and moist. That's because the lab meat has less protein content than conventional meat, the MSNBC reported.

Post said the strips they've made so far could be used as processed meat in sausages or hamburgers.

Their main problem is reproducing the protein content in regular meat: In livestock meat, protein makes up about 99 per cent of the product; the lab meat is only about 80 per cent protein. The rest is mostly water and nucleic acids, said Post.