Author | Yutong Wang
According to foreign media Foodbev Media, the German cell fish startup Bluu Biosciences recently completed a seed round of 7 million euros. Investors include Manta Ray Ventures, Norrsken VC, Be8, CPT Capital and Lever VC.
Bluu was founded in 2020 by two co-founders Sebastian Rakers and Ines Schiller, and is headquartered in Berlin. As the first European company that specializes in the development of cell fish, Bluu focuses on the development of laboratory-grown versions of carp, trout and salmon, with the goal of establishing a more sustainable and ethical ecosystem for fish.
The sustainable development of fish meat has a considerable market size and huge potential. With the increase in demand for fish, people have begun to pay attention to the impact of overfishing and industrial fish farming.This is also the problem faced by other animal protein sources: the demand for high-quality protein sources for billions of people on the planet cannot continue to keep up with the existing supply.
Picture from Bluu Biosciences official website
Bluu’s sustainable fish meat is produced from fish cells, and the researchers place these cells in a bioreactor and provide nutrients to stimulate its growth. Therefore, the produced fish meat does not cause harm to fish or the ecosystem, provides a pollution-free source of nutrient protein, and significantly reduces carbon dioxide, water and energy footprints compared with traditional fish processing procedures.
There are many outstanding companies in Europe that develop sustainable cell meat in the mammalian field, but almost no one is involved in cell fish. A strong advantage of Bluu is that co-founder Sebastian Rakers has rich experience in cultivating fish cells. Rakers worked for many years at the Fraunhofer Institute, one of the most famous research institutions in Europe. During the research, Rakers cultivated 80 different cell cultures for more than 20 fish species.More importantly, he can immortalize these cell lines.
Most cell lines tend to die after a certain number of reproductions, which means that if you want to produce meat on a large scale, you may need to perform multiple vivisections of the same animal and cultivate multiple cell lines at a time. Compared with other cell meat companies, Bluu can avoid this duplication, thanks to the completed development of immortal fish cell breeds.Bluu’s immortalized fish cells can multiply up to 100,000 times, and it can double every day.
The company said that this investment will support the team’s biotechnology research and development and new product development. Bluu is speeding up, and the goal is to produce the first prototype before the end of 2022.Rakers believes that laboratory cell fish may feed most humans. And Bluu’s mission is to quickly put research results into use to activate this potential. At present, the company has begun to produce cell fish products that are both delicious and nutritious, and do not contain genetic engineering, antibiotics and environmental toxins.
However, more suppliers are entering the market. In the United States, BlueNalu is researching cell-based mahi mahi and bluefin tuna. In Asia, Hong Kong-based Avant Meats is developing fish maw and sea cucumbers, while Singapore-based Shiok Meats is making cultured shellfish. Bluu will compete with a number of startups such as BluNalu, Wild Type, and Shiok Meats to bring fish substitute products cultivated in the laboratory to the market.