Cell-cultured shellfish produced with the same nutrients and texture have been developed through proprietary organoid technology.
Previously used in developmental biology, medicine, and research, organoids are three-dimensional tissue structures derived from stem cells that, when used in cell-cultured seafood, require only a minimal amount of growth factors.
Forsea Foods Ltd., announced it is starting operations by targeting supply gaps in the eel meat market and says it can now alleviate the supply bottleneck.
The organoid approach
Developed by Iftach Nachman, co-founder of Forsea, the organoid approach to building fish tissue involves creating an ideal environment for fish cells to spontaneously form their natural composition of native fat and muscle. They grow as a three-dimensional tissue structure in the same way that they would grow in a live fish.
Nachman said, “While cell culture is largely focused on a targeted differentiation system, where cells receive signals to differentiate into a specific cell type and then combine into a scaffold, our system grows the aggregate of several cells already in the initial stage of the process.
“Cells organize autonomously into their innate and purposeful structure, just like in nature.”
The result is sustainably produced farmed seafood that incorporates the same flavor and texture traits as its ocean-caught counterparts. However, unlike its counterparts, the resulting product does not contain potential contaminants such as mercury, industrial chemicals, and microplastics.
Forsea said they will also produce the same nutritional profile as traditionally raised shellfish.
“This is a function of how you nourish the cells,” said Roee Nir, a biotechnologist, CEO and co-founder of Forsea.
“There are multiple benefits to the organoid method of culturing fish in cells,” adds Nir. “First, it is a highly scalable platform that bypasses the scaffolding stage and requires fewer bioreactors. This makes the process much simpler and more profitable. Plus, it drastically reduces the amount of expensive growth factors needed.”
Powered by The Kitchen FoodTech Hub, the startup was formed last October, with an initial injection of capital support from the Israel Innovation Authority (IIA) and Strauss-Group.
The new venture brought together Nir, Nachman and Yaniv Elkouby, a senior research fellow at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and an expert in the biology of cell development who has spent many years studying fish biology.
Global demand is expected to double
The Kitchen Hub Vice President Amir Zaidman said: “Demand for seafood shows no signs of slowing down.
“In fact, global demand is projected to nearly double by 2050. But we are fast approaching the point where there simply won’t be enough fish in the sea to sustain the global community.
“Forsea’s innovative new farming platform has the potential to positively disrupt this paradigm by providing a clean, nutritious, delicious and commercially viable alternative to wild-caught seafood, while leaving it completely untouched. the delicate ocean ecosystem.