Freshwater eel meat was grown for the first time in the Forsea Foods laboratory in Israel.
Embryonic cells of the Japanese unagi eel served as the basis, The Guardian reports.
The development of artificial meat was “prompted” by overfishing and a sharp drop in the eel population. The wholesale price for this product in Japan is about $250 per kilogram.
As noted by Forsea Foods, eels have a very complex life cycle. It involves long migrations from rivers to the ocean and several distinct life stages, so this species of fish cannot be bred in captivity.
The company that raised the artificial eel meat collaborated with a Japanese chef to create unagi kabayaki – marinated eel fried on rice – and unagi nigiri, a type of sushi.
“It’s an expensive fish and nobody can supply it. It has a very unique taste and texture – very tender and fatty, and we try to add a unique umami taste” said Ro Neer, CEO of Forsea Foods.
He added that the “prototype” will undergo further improvements before it goes on sale. Forsea Foods plans to introduce cultured eel to the market in 2 years.
The fish meat was made using organoids, tiny bundles of tissue that were originally developed for use in medical research. Organoids consist of embryonic stem cells taken from fertilized eel eggs. These cells can turn into any tissue, and as they grow, they self-organize into the structure of real meat.
However, the developers warn that the final product will contain some herbal ingredients.
Instead, this method ensures that the product is produced without the use of antibiotics or hormones.
The company claims that cultured meat will have a much smaller impact on the environment than cattle meat. Scientists have said that giving up conventional meat and dairy products is the biggest way to reduce the environmental impact on the planet.
It will be recalled that in 2023, the Australian company Vow, which grows artificial meat from animal cells, presented a meatball made of “meat” grown from the cells of an extinct mammoth 4,000 years old.
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