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Creating Cell-Based Solutions to Meet Global Protein Demands

Japanese cell-based technology company, IntegriCulture Inc., leverages on cell culture techniques to create cell-based meat.

Formerly known as Shojinmeat Project, IntegriCulture Inc. is the spin off company that develops general-purpose large-scale cell culture technologies. At present the Shojinmeat Project is still active and as a non-profit science community, it has developed techniques that allows the possibility of cell culturing cell-based meat at home.

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of IntergriCulture, Yuki Hanyu shares that the initial inspiration for the Shojinmeat Project came from science fiction anime.

The CulNet system was developed by IntegriCulture as a general-purpose large-scale cell culture system. It is able to take in food grade cell culture medium and produce cultured cells and conditioned medium. The system is a string of connected flasks where each contains a specific cell type.

As compared to traditional cell culture methods, the CulNet system does not require growth factors to be added to the medium. Instead, it sources them from the cells in the connected flasks. The basal medium then circulates to pick up the growth factors and creates the cultured serum for cells to grow.

“Cell-based meat carries high hope as the holy grail to sustainable protein, for which $2T market is at stake. Once technology matures, cell-based meat becomes just meat identical to conventional meat at cellular and molecular level. Cell-based meat offers the same texture and flavor of real meat that plant-based alternative cannot emulate, but at 99 percent less land use, 96 percent less water consumption and 95 percent less greenhouse gas emissions.” Shared Yuki Hanyu, CEO of IntergriCulture Inc.

“In addition, we are also working on the source of raw materials – sugar and amino acid – to be produced from algae. This research is done in collaboration with Tokyo Women’s Medical University, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST). Successes in this field can further reduce environmental footprint to 99.8~99.95percent less land, water and greenhouse gas emissions.” He added.

IntegriCulture In. is currently working together with Nippon Ham Foods Ltd in various research and development projects using their CulNet System. On top of that the company has also recently launched joint research projects with other universities in Japan, namely Kagoshima University and Shinshu University. These collaborations have helped IntergriCulture Inc. to propel the research and development efforts in developing large-scale cell culture systems.

“We are open to providing the CulNet System to anyone who want to culture cells in large -scale. IntegriCulture Inc. provides the food-grade large-scale cell culture solutions, and clients develop and market their own meat products using our solution. Some of the possible near-term clients include cosmetics, pharmaceuticals and supplements companies. But in the long run, such demand is most likely to arise from cellular agriculture or cell-based meat companies.” Said Yuki Hanyu.

Yuki Hanyu, CEO of IntegriCulture Inc. will be speaking at the MIT Technology Review EmTech Asia in February 2020. [APBN]