Francis Bauzon, a research associate with BlauNalu, at the opening of the company's new premises in San Diego last year. Image from BlueNalu video.

Aquafeed producer partners with cell-based fish start-up

Aquafeed producer Nutreco has announced a strategic partnership with San Diego-based cell-based seafood start-up BlueNalu.

Published Last updated

The announcement comes a week after Nutreco, which owns Skretting, said it had agreed a collaboration with Dutch cell-based meat start-up Mosa Meat, based in Maastricht.

Nutreco said the partnerships amplify its commitment to science-based innovations that advance sustainability across the value chain.

Future opportunity

Chief executive Rob Koremans said the cell-based technology could potentially transform the way in which industry feeds the future, and offered Nutreco a future opportunity of becoming an ingredient supplier to the cell-based protein industry.

But he stressed that the company remained focused on conventional food production.

“While these new strategic partnerships allow Nutreco to serve as an advisor in the development of alternative protein for food, our core business will continue to focus on supplying sustainable, high quality nutritional solutions to our customers in the feed space,” said Koremans.

“We remain fully committed to providing farmers with digitally-enabled and farm-focused solutions to support them in raising their animals in an effective and sustainable manner.”

Lou Cooperhouse: Agreement will provide significant value to the company.

Significant milestone

Lou Cooperhouse, president and chief executive of BlueNalu, said: “The partnership with Nutreco is another significant milestone for BlueNalu, which will enable our team to accelerate our journey toward commercialisation, while also securing a global supply chain partner. 

“We expect this will provide significant value to our company, as it is our objective to introduce our seafood products in a test market during the next two years, and launch our products in several global markets by the end of this decade.” 

Technical feat

BlueNalu recently announced its development of whole-muscle portions of a yellowtail amberjack product which performed the same as a conventional fish fillet in all cooking applications, with the ability to be prepared in the raw form, cooked form (seared, grilled, boiled, fried, and microwaved), and prepared via acidification (e.g. in ceviche, poke, and kimchi applications).

“This was an extraordinary technical feat,” said chief technical officer Chris Dammann.

“When we started this company, there was very little available science on the long-term propagation of fish muscle cells and no reliable culture protocol. To create a whole-muscle product from fish cells that are grown without genetic modification required considerable innovation.”