It has been revealed to vegconomist that IntegriCulture Inc. and Shiok Meats Ltd have officially entered into a collaboration to upscale Shiok Meat’s cell-based shrimp utilising IntegriCulture’s inexpensive cell culture technology which will effectively make the shrimp more affordable and removes the necessity of the use of serum.
IntegriCulture will provide its food-grade culture medium called SpaceSalt, as well as its scalable inexpensive cell culture protocols, called the CulNet™ System. Shiok Meats reports that this system has already proved successful for beef and avian meat, and now the two companies are set to apply the technology to scale cell-based shrimp meat and reduce its costs.
The news comes just two weeks after Shiok Meats announced a raise of US$3 million in bridge funding from Agronomics, VegInvest, Impact Venture, and Mindshift Capital, marking a total of US$7.6 million of investment to date.
Integriculture Inc. is a cellular agriculture company whose first product, a cell-based foie gras, is to be released next year. The company’s large-scale cell culture technology (CulNet™ System) can culture cells 4~5 orders of magnitude less expensive than conventional methods, by not requiring externally added growth factors or serum.
Together the teams will adapt Integriculture’s existing technology for shrimp cell cultures to develop an inexpensive cultured serum for shrimp, which will omit the necessity of expensive growth factors or serum and provide Shiok Meats with higher capability to develop unique cell-based seafoods and further meet its mission to deliver delicious, clean and healthy seafood through the harvesting of cells instead of animals.
Shiok Meats is working on cell-based crustacean meats starting with shrimp, with later plans for the development of crab and lobster. We asked Co-Founder Dr. Sandhya Sriram about the importance of the removal of the need for serum (which effectively makes cell meat unsuitable for vegans since it is usually sourced from animals). She explained, “Traditionally, serum from animals is used for growing cells and stem cells in pharma/academic research. But this doesn’t make sense for cell-based meats as it is neither ethical nor sustainable. Also, serum is expensive. Hence, most cell-based companies are looking into serum alternatives that are edible, plant-based, inexpensive and sustainable.”