Startup supplies restaurants with sushi fish from the laboratory

Fish is an important source of protein for humans. In the last few decades, however, human hunger for the animals in the water has become a little too great. The result: in many regions there was hopeless overfishing. As a result, artificial fish breeding stations were built around the world. However, these have an impact on local ecosystems and can contribute to the spread of diseases. In the United States, the Wildtype company is therefore working on another alternative: fish that is artificially grown in the laboratory. Tissue samples from salmon, from which stem cells are obtained, serve as the basis for this. These in turn can then be grown into different cell types. The basic process has been used in research for many years. The challenge now is to optimize the various details so that the end result is a delicious product.

Bild: Wildtype Foods

The salmon has layers of red muscle and white streaks of fat

For example, fetal calf serum is normally used in the laboratory to stimulate cell growth. However, this approach is too expensive to produce large quantities of fish with it. The question of animal welfare also arises here. The pilot plant operated by wild type in the United States therefore sows the cells on a matrix with a plant-based structure. The main task of this is to guide the growth of the cells in an orderly manner. That this works is immediately apparent when looking at the end product: On the one hand, the salmon from the laboratory has red muscle layers. These are in turn separated from each other by fine white strips of fat. In terms of its basic structure, the salmon from the laboratory does not differ from its natural counterpart. The US company expects to be able to produce enough salmon by next year to supply all sushi restaurants in San Francisco.


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The costs should be comparable to fish farming

The question still remains to be clarified whether the fish from the laboratory actually tastes good. A blind tasting with around one hundred people from the industry produced encouraging results in this regard. They rated the taste of the fish from the Petri dish as almost as good as that of real wild salmon. The minds behind the company also promise that they will not bring a luxury product to market. Instead, the cost should be comparable to that of salmon from aquaculture. Basically, working with the Petri dish is also much more efficient. Because what is eaten is specifically bred here: the fillet. In aquaculture, however, fins and innards also grow and end up in the garbage. This is one of the reasons why experts assume that the fish from the laboratory will have a significantly better environmental balance than the competition from the fish farms.

Via: DLF

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