SustainabilityVeganism

Vegan Seafood: The Science and Need Behind It

Clean Seafood is a potential replacement in accordance with the growing market of vegan food products. To be more specific the growing preference given to sustainable alternatives to non-vegetarian food products.

When we look into the statistics, 90% of the world’s fisheries are facing over-exploitation or depletion. Contaminants like mercury, plastics, growth hormones and antibiotics are making way into our favourite food product. Making it necessary to hunt for an alternative to produce seafood without causing the harm that it does now.

Need For Seafood
Overfishing of Shrimp

Why do we need vegan seafood?

When we focus on sustainability, the carbon footprint is a major aspect to understand the need for sustainable alternatives.

Basically, a seafood product׳s carbon footprint represents the quantity of greenhouse gas (GHG) released during its production, transport and consumption. It is calculated as CO2 equivalent (CO2e), calculated via established methodologies e.g., life cycle assessments [LCA].

Studies have shown that seafood products delivered to various endpoints globally found a range of carbon footprints from 0.7 to 14.0 kg CO2e per kilogram edible product. The carbon footprint further increases with the demand for canned seafood. Cellular agriculture technology is the technology in use to develop vegan seafood.

Technology used to develop vegan seafood

Vegan seafood is developed using cellular agriculture technology. It has the definition of the manufacturing of agricultural products from cell cultures and not from whole plants or animals.

Vegan Seafood
Iran’s first Stem Cell Culture For Seafood

With developing cellular agriculture as a way to address environmental and animal welfare. It will be easier to address the challenges of business aquaculture structures and marine capture.

Manufacturing of land animal cells using Closed-system bioreactor creates a basis for the massive scale production of marine animal cells.

Aquaculture techniques are inclusive of genetic modification. Closed system aquaculture has achieved giants gains in production that may pave the manner for improvements in cell-based seafood manufacturing.

Studies find that the physiological properties of fish cell- and tissue- culture may be uniquely suited to cultivation in vitro( used to describe experiments that is performed outside of a living organism).

Marine cells have specific physiological properties such as tolerance to hypoxia, high buffering capacity, and low-temperature growth conditions. Making it suitable for larger production of cell-based seafood,rather more appropriate than mammalian or avian cell cultures( for clean meat).

Startups

Also, some leading companies like Garden Protein International use soybeans and other plant material to make a line of vegan meat, including a “Fishless Fillet.”

Finless Foods uses cutting-edge cellular-agriculture technologies to grow marine-animal cells for creating fish and seafood products. It started off by producing bluefin tuna, a fish that has recently been threatened by predatory fishing practices.

Another start-up BlueNalu grows fillets of yellowtail fish entirely from cells, this is based at San Diego. Presently Blue Nalu is a global leader in cellular aquaculture. Basically cultured fish is based on a desirable combination of three types of muscles present in fishes. That is the white, pink and red muscles.

Vegan seafood
Vegan Shrimp Spagetti

Each muscle (red, white, pink) has different oxygen requirements. E.g., red muscle relies on aerobic metabolism (oxygen to produce energy); therefore, it has more oxygen needs. But, the white muscle can survive with very little oxygen. We need to take into account these oxygen variations when designing our tissue engineering approach.

Also consideration of nutritionally relevant factors like  amount of omega-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is important.

Between 2014 and 2019 the average annual per capita consumption of seafood worldwide increased slightly from 19.9 kilograms to 20.5 kilograms.

At the present moment, the choice for sustainable food products is on a hike. This implies that the vegan seafood market must have promising potential and also a great positive impact on the environment.

Written By,

Nairiti Sharma,

Student, Niftem

Also, if you have interests in learning about the market for vegan products, do check our article.

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