Scientists want to turn fish fins into sashimi


Fish meat grown from discarded fins could be the next sustainable food solution.

For every fish caught, made into a sushi roll, and eaten, an enormous amount of marine life is destroyed. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations recently valued that 35 percent of fish caught or farmed is lost or wasted each year – and this figure does not include bycatch such as corals, shrimp and seals. A new process can produce clean meat from fish waste, helping to meet the world’s growing food needs and reducing pressure on fishing.

Fish consumption has increased in parallel with world population growth, which has caused enormous damage to the marine ecosystem, largely of overfishing. Current food supply systems can not to encounter demand, and industrial fishing is known for its wasteful methods.

But the waste gave researchers an idea. Many fish can regenerate their body parts, including fins, heart, tissues, and neurons. Scientists can grow cells from discarded fins to grow ‘aquatic clean meat’ lab-grown fish meat – as a sustainable food alternative.

Fin cells can transform into various cell types, such as neural cells, fat cells, and skeletal muscle-like cells, without genetic manipulation. The researchers of the new technique grew the cells to stack them one by one like Lego blocks – they eventually formed meat like sashimi.

Creating clean aquatic meat in this way is environmentally friendly and increases animal welfare and sustainability. It uses fins that would otherwise be discarded as trash. Fin cells can also be collected without killing live fish, and skin that peels off during breeding can also be used as raw material.

Human activity has brought the ocean to the brink of death. Marine ecosystems have been significantly damaged by chemical pollution such as heavy metals and nutrients from intensive agriculture, livestock and aquaculture waste, microplastic pollution and climate change due to excess atmospheric carbon dioxide.

Clean aquatic meat is self-sufficient and a strong candidate for a sustainable food resource. Meat can be grown even in confined areas such as space shuttles. It can be supplied all year round without depending on seasonal catches.

The technology to produce clean aquatic meat does not cause environmental pollution and can prevent overfishing. It offers a way to protect marine populations from current and future human threats.

Doctor Yusuke Tsuruwaka is a cell biology researcher at Keio University, Japan. Mrs Eriko Shimada is a cell biology researcher at the National Institute of Technology, Tsuruoka College, Japan.

The authors are researchers and co-founders of Cellevolt.

Originally published under Creative Commons by 360info™.

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