Production of cell-based fish in the bioractor
Bluu Seafood is the first company in Europe to specialise in the development and production of cell-based fish. There are currently only a handful of companies worldwide that are active in this field. Bluu Seafood is thus filling a gap in the market: Almost everywhere today, more fish are caught than can naturally grow back. This endangers the nutritional basis of hundreds of millions of people. In the future, cell-based fish can make a decisive contribution to global supply security for animal protein.
Furthermore, fish cell cultivation does not contribute to water pollution and eutrophication, unlike non-land-based aquaculture, which has grown rapidly, especially in the last decade, and is also associated with factory farming. Other advantages of cultured fish are its high nutritional value, as well as its availability and the associated short supply chains. Fish products from fish cells are free of genetic engineering, antibiotics and environmental toxins. They can be produced decentrally according to demand. Unlike aquaculture, a cell-based factory can be set up anywhere in the world.
Founder and CEO Dr Sebastian Rakers and his team isolate the cells from a biopsy, i.e. from a piece of adult fish tissue. The isolated cells, similar to progenitor cells or adult stem cells, are multiplied in an in vitro culture in the laboratory. Since they do not age, they can divide an infinite number of times. The cells are then nourished in a bioreactor with a nutrient medium.
Cultured fish cells are more robust than cultured mammalian cells because they are more tolerant of varying oxygen levels and they are able to multiply even at room temperature. In addition, the meat structure of fish is much less complex compared to mammalian meat.
At the moment, work is being done to optimise the processes and develop the first prototypes, so-called hybrid products. These products consist mainly of cultivated fish cells and are enriched with vegetable proteins as well as other vegetable ingredients to achieve a product that is not only healthy but also tasty. In the process, products such as fish balls and fish fingers have already been developed.