Lab-grown fish sticks are coming | Smart News


Bluu Seafood is preparing for regulatory approval processes for its cell-cultured fish products in Asia, the United States, the United Kingdom and the European Union.
Bluu GmbH / Wim Jansen

Lab-grown fish products are about to hit grocery store shelves. This week, Berlin-based Bluu Seafood unveiled what the company says are the first market-ready products made from cultured fish cells: fish sticks and fish balls.

Bluu Seafood is now preparing to enter the complex web of regulatory approval processes in Asia, the United States, the United Kingdom and the European Union, which means that cell culture products could head to the plates from all over the world in the next few years. The company hopes to be able to sell its products by 2025.

Since 2020, Bluu Seafood has been perfecting the art of making seafood without killing any fish. It’s one of many companies working to develop lab-grown fish feed that can help address seafood production issues such as overfishing, cruelty, and heavy metal and plastic contamination. .

fish balls

Bluu Lab Grown Fish Balls

Bluu GmbH / Wim Jansen

To make its products without harvesting fish, the company collects tissue from a live fish, then uses stem cell technology to create duplicate cells by feeding them a “nutrient-rich medium” in a bioreactor, according to the company’s website. The cells then begin to develop scaffolding structures to help give them the right texture of fish meat.

Once the company has developed an initial biomass of cells, the system is self-contained and does not require real fish from that point on.

“That’s the amazing thing about ‘immortalized’ cells – whereas ‘normal’ cells double, say, 20 times and then stop, immortalized cells keep doubling – theoretically forever,” says Simon Fabich, co – founder of the company. Tech Crunchis Paul Sawers.

These cultured fish cells are the primary ingredient in Bluu Seafood’s fish sticks and balls, but the company also adds vegetable proteins to “optimize cooking behavior and mouthfeel,” according to a statement.

Currently, Bluu Seafood is developing lab-grown cells from Atlantic salmon, rainbow trout and carp. The company is also working on more complicated fish products, including sashimi and fillets.

Cell Culture Fish Sticks

Bluu Cell Culture Fish Sticks

Bluu GmbH / Wim Jansen

Other companies are also looking for similar fish products. San Francisco’s Wildtype is working on making lab-grade sushi-grade salmon, while South Korea-based CellMeat is developing cultured shrimp. Aside from seafood, many companies and research groups are working on cultured meat products, like lab-grown sausages and meatballs. Pet food companies are also developing cell-cultured meats for our four-legged friends.

Cell-grown fish and meat differ from meat substitutes and meat substitutes, or fake meats, in that they are made from “real animal meat,” according to the nonprofit Good Food Institute. . By growing cells in the lab, producers can avoid some of the environmental, ethical, labor and space issues of raising food animals.

Although seafood tends to be more environmentally friendly than other types of protein, such as beef, the fishing industry has its own problems. Marine habitats are becoming increasingly vulnerable as the climate warms, and overfishing – the practice of harvesting too many fish from a specific area – is further disrupting delicate underwater ecosystems. Fishing also contributes to huge amounts of plastic pollution in the world’s oceans.

“Our current course of aquatic animal feed production is unsustainable, both wild-caught and [farmed]says Matthew Hayek, an environmental scientist at New York University. Gizmodois Lauren Leffer.

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