The two companies will work specifically on creating cultured tilapia. BioMeat Foodtech, a company specializing in investments in cultured meat and meat alternatives, has announced the formation of E-FISHient Protein, a joint venture with the Volcani Center, an institute for agriculture innovation. The venture will work on developing, manufacturing, and distributing non-animal serum-based farmed fish flesh.
E-FISHient CEO Dana Levin and BioMeat CEO Gilles Gamon will lead the company, and its product development will be led by Dr. Jakob Biran, head of the Volcani Institute’s research lab (who specializes in genome editing and neuroendocrine regulation of stress and metabolism in fish, with a focus on tilapia). The E-FISHient R&D team is developing a technological knowledge base focusing on the isolation of cells with the capacity to differentiate into muscle cells and their long-term preservation, with the goal of developing an artificial growth medium for fish flesh that does not require animal serum.
The fishing industry has caused major environmental damage, and dwindling fish stocks will not be able to sustain a growing global population. Aquaculture is one alternative (note: globally, the Nile tilapia is one of the most commonly raised species in aquaculture) but there are valid concerns that come along with aquaculture. Cultivated seafood, if it is able to be produced on a commercial level, will offer the option to eat fish without these impacts and concerns.
E-FISHient is focused on growing cultured tilapia meat on a commercial scale, and will then expand to cultivated analogs of other fish species.