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Cell-Based Seafood Receiving Funding


Paralleling developments in cell-cultured beef, venture capital companies are now funding research and development in the field of cell-cultured seafood on three continents.  According to an article in a recent edition of Chemical And Engineering News, a number of companies including BlueNalu based in California, are close to commercial sales.  This Company has formed a JV with a restaurant group in Japan to produce and market a substitute tuna product.  Upside Foods has acquired technology to produce faux lobster and other seafood analogs using advanced cell-culture.


The president of Food and Life, Koichi Mizutome noted, "with the uncertainty of natural marine resources in the future it is important that we secure a stable supply of seafood".  Dr. David Kaplan of the Cellular Agricultural Research Group at Tufts University noted that cell-cultured seafood will compete with high-priced natural products.  This situation contrasts with cell-cultured beef that in the absence of a textured product, will have to sell against low-priced ground product.


A barrier to development and ultimately commercialization of cell-cultured seafood relates to the dearth of basic research with accumulated studies concentrating on mammalian cells.  Notwithstanding challenges, there is considerable potential for cell-cultured analogs of crustacean products given decreasing availability, escalating price price and health-related considerations.