Lurking in a petri dish in a laboratory in the Netherlands is an unlikely contender for the future of food. The yellow-pink sliver the size of a corn plaster is the state-of-the-art in lab-grown meat, and a milestone on the path to the world's first burger made from stem cells.
Dr Mark Post, head of physiology at Maastricht University, plans to unveil a complete burger – produced at a cost of more than £200,000 – this October.
He hopes Heston Blumenthal, the chef and owner of the three Michelin-starred Fat Duck restaurant in Berkshire, will cook the offering for a celebrity taster as yet unnamed.
The project, funded by a wealthy, anonymous, individual aims to slash the number of cattle farmed for food, and in doing so reduce one of the major contributors to greenhouse gas emissions.
"Meat demand is going to double in the next 40 years and right now we are using 70% of all our agricultural capacity to grow meat through livestock," Post said.
"You can easily calculate that we need alternatives. If you don't do anything meat will become a luxury food and be very, very expensive."