CellX Ventures into Mycelium Fermentation to Create Proteins for Plant-Based and Hybrid Products

CellX, a biotech that operates China’s largest cultivated and seafood facility, announces a new fermentation program, a parallel venture producing mycelium-derived proteins for alt meat and dairy, functional, and hybrid products. 

With this expansion, the company aims to complement its cultivated meat platform and launch sustainable proteins more quickly. “Fermentation and cultivated meat both serve CellX’s vision of providing sustainable protein for everyone,” Operations Manager Liu Yu informs vegconomist. 

CellX’s fermentation program has already commenced operations with a pilot-scale production of 10 m3. The company says it is preparing to submit for regulatory approval in China and abroad and is set to introduce its mycelium products into global markets by 2025. 

A bag of mycelium-powdered proteins
Image courtesy of CellX

A diverse portfolio of novel proteins

The edible fungi strains suitable for fermentation were found in partnership with well-known institutions in China after screening more than 2,000 strains to identify the best. 

According to the biotech, fermenting mycelium proteins is cost-effective and delivers high-quality proteins. The final raw material offers nutritional advantages over plant proteins. It has over 40% protein content, over 20% dietary fiber, and is rich in antioxidants. Its amino acid score coefficient (0.98) is on par with that of beef.

“Our mycelium program complements our existing cultivated meat focus”

Mycelium proteins can be used in hybrid products combined with cultivated meat ingredients to make outstanding nutritional products at a lower price than 100% cultivated meat products — ultimately a more compelling product choice for the consumer, says CellX.

Founded in 2020 and based in Shanghai, CellX secured $6.5 million in Series A+ funding this June to establish the pilot plant and tasting center. To date, the company has raised $20 million. In the last months, the company has achieved important milestones including cultivating meat and seafood at large scale, and thus lowering their prices. Its flagship product, a cultivated chicken breast, got to the final stage of the XPRIZE Feed the Next Billion (FTNB) competition in May. 

“Our mycelium program complements our existing cultivated meat focus and will allow us to bring a diverse portfolio of alternative protein products to market sooner. We are scaling the mycelium program to 10,000 liters and will subsequently apply for regulatory approval in China and other key global markets,” Ziliang Yang, CEO of CellX, told vegconomist.

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