Why have they made it? What does it taste like? And how soon can you get one? Channel 4 News looks at the test-tube burger and the tech 'moo-gul' who funded it.

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The first edible burger to be grown in a laboratory will be cooked and eaten today in London. And the two volunteer tasters - both food experts - will be getting lunch on Google co-founder Sergey Brin who paid for the £215,000 cost of the petri-dish burger.

Making the synthetic burger took two years, but lab-grown burgers could be in supermarkets in as little as 10 years, say the creators of the burger, at the Netherlands' Maastricht university.

Mr Brin unveiled himself today as the private philanthropist who funded the project to make synthetic meat, with a 250,000 euro grant. In a film published online today, Mr Brin said he was moved to invest in the fake meat out of animal welfare concerns and the world's growing demand for food.

"There are three things that can happen going forward - one is that we all become vegetarians, I don't think that's likely" said Brin. "The second is that we ignore the issues, the third is that we do something new."

Lead burger researcher Professor Mark Post told the BBC: "We are doing that because livestock production is not good for the environment, it is not going to meet demand for the world and it is not good for animals."

Artificial meat could ease the world's food crisis, says Professor Post, explaining that lab-grown burgers are much more efficient than traditional ones.

A lab-made burger uses 45 percent less energy than conventionally farmed beef, creates 96 percent less greenhouse gases and uses 99 percent less land, according to statistics from the Environmental Science and Technology journal.

Tastes 'reasonable'

It almost tastes the same too.

Dr Post told the New York Times that the tissue "tastes reasonably good", after conducting his own informal taste tests. However it has to be dyed red with beetroot because lab meat tends to come out white.

Post, a professor of vascular physiology and tissue engineering, has grown the burger from stem cells taken from cows and cultured in lab conditions. The cells multiply and bulk up into small strips of beef muscle that can be ground together to create burger patties.

Professor Post will cook up the burger for two volunteers at 2pm today. It has been flavoured with saffron, caramel and breadcrumbs. Tasters include the American author of Taste of Tomorrow, Josh Schonwald, and an Austrian food researcher, Hanni Rützler of the Future Food Studio.

You can watch the livestream of the burger presentation here.

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