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Wildtype: Sushi-grade salmon grown from Pacific Salmon cells (wildtypefoods.com)
266 points by zuhayeer 23 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 188 comments

As a curiosity and side note, Salmon wasn't always eaten by the Japanese as sushi. It was considered a garbage fish that you'd grill due to its likelihood of being infected by parasites. It was the Norwegians that had a surplus, and was looking for a new market to open up that salmon sushi became a thing.


The Norwegians probably won't pay attention to this initially, but will probably come out against it, given that Salmon is at least a chunk of chain for their industries.

Andong did a deep dive on it and the norway genesis isn't the full story: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1k4x9FrD5k4

I found that video fascinating as an example of how pernicious myths can be. Makes me wonder how many myths I've propagated to others without verifying them myself.

As with many interesting topics, there's a great Planet Money episode about this too: https://www.npr.org/sections/money/2015/09/16/440951873/epis...

I don't think it's accurate to call salmon a "garbage fish" (though I've known salmon sushi all my life). It's been the classic protein of choice for traditional Japanese breakfasts (akin to having eggs for breakfast in the West) and a very common rice ball filling.

Succinctly: When people defend meat eating as part of their cultural heritage, they're defending a marketing campaign from the last 80 years.

Source? I've been reading the opposite.

Well that's a leap

I'm not sure who to trust here. This video says that the Norwegian sushi story is a bit of a myth, or over stated due to poor journalism. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1k4x9FrD5k4

But he definitely has evidence of salmon sushi being eaten before the Norwegians claim to have invented it.

Yes, I was thinking to myself that 'sushi-grade salmon' was an oxymoron.

The way I understand it, it's not the meat that's sushi-grade. It's the way it's preserved / delivered. Basically if you can eat it raw and not let the parasites from salmon grow, then it's sushi-grade. Most commonly that means storing salmon in a freezer which kills the parasites. (think -50C)

Here's a decent article https://www.seriouseats.com/2017/05/how-to-prepare-raw-fish-...

Even if salmon wasn't traditionally consumed in sushi by the Japanese, wouldn't the later reversal indicate that, even in Japan, there is such a thing as sushi-grade salmon?

Only in japan

The possibilities with this are so exciting, as someone who eats a vegetarian diet due to environmental and moral concerns with the meat industry.

It appears on their website that this is real & ready to sell. I thought large-scale lab-grown meat was still 10-20 years in the future... Does anyone know the pricing? I didn’t see anything on their website, but I feel like it must be expensive.

Also, did they pick salmon because it’s easier than other meat types for some reason?

I'm not an expert on WildType's specific process, but I've read that while mammalian cells need to be grown at ~37 C 5% CO2, fish cells can be grown at lower temps due to differences in biology. I just read a paper where salmon cells were incubated at 13 C and 3% CO2. Could be that they're expecting energy cost savings with no need to pre-warm media, heat bioreactor, etc., but it's also possible that cooling will be necessary (depending on the location of the plant) or that mammalian metabolism will produce enough heat that bioreactor heating may not be an issue. I think the jury is still out on that. So maybe they just looked at where they could find their niche in a market with lots of pork, beef, and poultry companies already? Or maybe the founders really cared about marine ecosystems?

See the comments below - https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=26905472

~$200 for a 6-piece sushi roll.

That's less bad than I thought the early pricing would be (and isn't far from the highest end sushi I've seen around the west coast here).

Its an order of magnitude higher than traditional salmon nigiri would cost though ($2-3/piece in a restaurant).

Sure, but electric cars used to be insanely expensive too. And while still expensive, they’ve definitely become cheaper with more range. That is to say, lots of things start out being expensive, and then as they get scaled up and the process gets optimized, they become cheaper.

Ok, well that's way less than thousands of dollars so it's a start!

Not to mention, they probably haven't realized the economies of scale yet at all.

Exactly. Also if you decided to go on a boat and catch one yourself that easily could end up in thousands...

Is there hope for some kind of law for the price steadily decreasing over time as efficiencies improve, like Moore's law for computer chips or the exponential increase of solar efficiency?

The industry term for how prices drop as you make more of something is the "learning curve".

I'd go with "economy of scale".

They're different things. I could build my own processor fab for probably around €100 000, and those things used to cost millions – but I'm not exploiting economies of scale. Rather, I can look up how to best do it instead of having to work it out myself, plus I have better other technology available (e.g. a laser cutter can be modified to make parts of it).

I'd still have the problem of sourcing materials and disposing of all that toxic waste, though, which probably isn't a problem with the salmon.

If you can build your own processor fab today for €100 000, you are definitely exploiting economies of scale. It is possible because of the massive existing industry that's created the market for, and driven down the price of parts and tools and supplies that you need to put it together and run it. E.g., that inexpensive off the shelf laser cutter you need to buy.

But that's not “how prices drop as you make more of something is the "learning curve"”.

OK, I see where we are misunderstanding each other. I was was trying to say that the decreased cost as you make more of something comes from economies of scale more than the learning curve.

This is what capitalism is for.

Demand is high, supply is low. So prices are high. Only rich can accord.

Early creators make a lot of money.

Seeing the absurd profits, others will start supplying zombie sushi.

Demand is high, but now supply is high. Prices drop.

Now even common folk can enjoy zombie salmon sushi.

No laws needed, no government regulators needed to control prices.

I've seen that in the scope of the technology life-cycle.


Once it's taken off sometimes there is reference to the the manufacturing s-curve. That would be on the Wikipedia chart, going from when the R&D has traction to where increasing scaling increases volume and reduces costs of the product.

Sure, like with anything that goes into mass production.

But before that happens, the process needs to be understood and not rely on rare ingredients, for which production also needs to scale up. Are there big suppliers of salmon stemcells?

Yes, see Wright's Law: https://ark-invest.com/wrights-law/

This falls into a class of bio-tech that I'm extremely excited about.

Sure, we can have rockets to Mars, but can we engineer fungii to create soil there? Can we grow food from cultures?

Will we care more about a lunar lander or the long-term results of mRNA vaccines? Can we cure Ebola, HIV, HPV, HSV and other social viruses? Not to mention the next pandemic, Malaria, etc?

I'm an aerospace engineer by day, but biotech (med/food/agri) is where the real social impact will come from over the next 100 years.

Have you found any information on how it's actually produced?

Look up bovine fetal calf serum and it’s roll in cell cultures.

This movement towards synthetic meat seems very antithetical to the natural foods heuristic. Isn't what we've learned over the last half-century or so that processing food in an attempt to make it more nutritious/uniform/etc. generally involves a reductive analysis of the value of the food and in doing so destroys most of the actual nutrient value?

The "shopping at the edges of the market" thing is a tolerably good heuristic for avoid foods that have been modified based on outdated or incorrect theories of human nutrition. The push for heavily processed synthetic meats seems like a huge step backwards.

It’s at least more efficient and doesn’t result in killing animals. This is probably way more sparing of water use, for instance. Whether someone wants more nutritious food or not is a secondary concern from decoupling meat consumption from current (horrible) practices.

Exactly. I see the benefit of this kind of food even if it is somewhat weak nutritionally if used occasionally in an otherwise well balanced diet. Sure, don't do this for every meal, but maybe don't it with regular sushi neither anyway. Enjoy your occasional sushi without the ethical / environmental drawbacks of eating actual salmon, and remain healthy by diversifying food.

I'd be glad too, actually.

What i see and taking in account the higher comments about economics of scale is that at some point synthetic meats will become cheaper that natural so food manufacturers will start replacing it with a tiny disclaimer “may contain synthetic meat” and that if the FDA forces them to.

I hope the disclaimer will say "is synthetic meat" if it is actually entirely synthetic. Uncertainty would ruin it!

It isn't really "heavily processed" any more than artificicially selecting seeds for edible plants and growing them through aquaponics or other "unnatural" settings.

Lab-grown meat implies that most of the basic cell chemistry of these cells is going to occur as usual. To me that kills many of the stronger arguments against processed food.

"Basic cell chemistry" is a term that is very reductive. Long-held wisdom is that we don't eat animals that have died of natural causes. But a dead animal's cell chemistry is largely functional for days to months after its death.

So yes, I would argue significantly more heavily processed; edible plants need to be biologically viable in order to be useful for food production. That is not a guarantee that it will be safe or good, but as a heuristic I think it's a solid one, since the changes are within the bounds of the variability that is achievable through natural reproduction.

While I definitely understand your concern, I also think we can see this as a fascinating opportunity to improve the nutritional value of meat. These muscle cells in culture will generally speaking continue to produce the proteins, ECM components, etc. that they normally do, but we can also take advantage of genetic manipulation, metabolic engineering, and nutrition engineering to make them achieve more. A paper came out last year (https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S109671762...) in which mammalian cells (bovine primary and immortalized murine muscle cells) were modified to produce plant proteins without loss of phenotype. From the abstract:

"... to endogenously produce the antioxidant carotenoids phytoene, lycopene and β-carotene. These phytonutrients offer general nutritive value and protective effects against diseases associated with red and processed meat consumption, and so offer a promising proof-of-concept for nutritional engineering in cultured meat."

It may also be worth mentioning that cultured meat offers other potential gains in the arena of human health -- no need for antibiotics in a sterile manufacturing setting (so not contributing to antibiotic resistance), vanishingly low risk of foodborne illnesses and novel viruses like covid-19, etc..

All due respect, I do not feel like you understand my concern.

"Improving the nutritional value" is exactly what I am railing against. The idea that we understand human nutrition in any quantitative way is not realistic. It involves attempting to reduce complex systems to a small set of things that we can understand (making the system more "legible") is dangerous and represents a huge failure of what James C. Scott calls "high modernism".

By the time that we figure out that one of the nutrients presented is harmful unless it is accompanied by mediators naturally present in real foods it will be too late to fix these processes.

You're right, I misunderstood your initial comment, so I see that my response was completely antithetical to your thoughts on nutrition. Sorry for the miscommunication!

> This movement towards synthetic meat seems very antithetical to the natural foods heuristic.

I can't take that heuristic seriously while eating any kind of fruit or vegetable, given how selective breeding has turned them all into utterly unnatural creations, even the so-called non-GMO varieties. At that point, "natural" just means "not using any technology developed after an arbitrary cutoff date" and it's meaningless.

For what it's worth, most modern food animals and plants are still capable of producing natural offspring and sustaining life on their own. GMO presents some interesting challenges, but the main thing is that modern offshoots of wild organisms are bred to produce these outcomes, but they are bred, which means that they are within the range of variability of the population in question, even if they're out in the bell curve a bit.

I think there's a significant qualitative difference between cheese, for example, of any variety, and "processed cheese" which is designed to mimic cheese properties but make it uniform over time and region by substituting simple chemicals (i.e., reductive by definition) for ingredients which came about by co-evolution in our ecosystems.

I’d take it any day over the gross conditions animals are raised and butchered in. I’m not a vegetarian but am unbelievably excited for this to become normal place. It’s many years over due.

Sort of, but not really. Nutrient deficits are pretty rare in developed countries; I'd bet there are more anorexia cases than scurvy, goiters, etc. The main lesson has been that processed foods have been engineered to taste better, often because of added sugar, salt and fat, are less filling, and are more likely to cause weight gain because of that. Golden rice is a food that was engineered to be more nutritious, and if not for politics and GMO fears, it would be a nutritional game changer for the developing world.

This isn't to say modern agriculture practices are good, it's that it's hard to say people aren't getting enough nutrients in their diet when micronutrient deficiencies are rare and there's an obesity epidemic.

> The push for heavily processed synthetic meats seems like a huge step backwards

Regardless of how accurate that is, "ultra processed foods" is a recent, poll-optimized anti marketing campaign keyword from the American meat industry.

Wait till you find out how unnatural most meat is. Its totally full or hormones and ammonia...And just to get ahead of the inevitable response, no, the vast majority of consumers do not buy grass fed / free range / whatever. Its a dodge and impossible to scale to current consumption levels based on land availability.

I mean, the animals that the meat is made from are living creatures, capable of reproduction and all the usual functions of those animals. We have not been able to shortcut biology in this regard; we are just working on the fringes of natural variability.

In other words, the fact that we have biological systems that are achievable by breeding natural stock is a backstop against producing "food" that did not co-evolve with us. No guarantees, of course, which is why it's a heuristic and not a hard-and-fast rule, but I'd much rather have meat from living animals that have to survive than lab-produced meat that we have reductively arrived at by trying to mimic the observable properties of meat from biological organisms.

GMO presents significant challenges to this, as does clonal propagation of mutant varieties of fruit trees, both of which result in things that, while not necessarily bad, have developed outside the range of what natural variability could produce as viable systems.

Isn't what we've learned over the last half-century or so that processing food in an attempt to make it more nutritious/uniform/etc. generally involves a reductive analysis of the value of the food and in doing so destroys most of the actual nutrient value?

Pretty much.

I had a boss who was very sanctimonious about her lunches. She would hover over other people and say, "I never eat processed foods."

Then she'd put a fake chicken patty in the microwave and slather it with vegan mayonnaise.

I've found that the louder someone is about their eating habits, the less likely it is that they use logic to choose their food.

I've found that the louder someone is in general, the less likely it is that they use logic in general. :-)

Boy I really wish I knew more about the science here.

I can't tell if it's yucky, so they don't discuss it, or if it's vapor, so they don't discuss it.

That said, their photo looks like something I would at least taste! Matrix-grown meat seems to me like something that will have its place in the world, especially if the net environmental impact is favorable.

So, Wild Type: more details, yo.

The photo on their website looks amazing, with perfect fatty stripes. Photos from one of their early tastings in 2019 didn't look so good. Mostly chopped up, and larger pieces didn't seem to have the fatty layers.


It makes me question if the salmon in the photos on their website is really lab grown. If so, it is quite an achievement.

I had a different reaction on seeing it.

Yes, it has the striped pattern, but the texture looks completely wrong. Compare their image now with e.g. https://i.redd.it/12cdw2wb55p01.jpg. It's superficially similar; the 'early tasting' picture you link to looks _better_ from a texture perspective, to me.

That doesn't mean it's not tasty, but I would not choose this over the real thing (traditional preparation? idk).

Compare crab stick to the real thing. People still eat poor imitations if it tastes good.

Heck, I prefer surimi to crab!

I was thinking the same thing. It's really unclear if the photos are their own product or just supposed to represent good salmon in general.

It's a year old, and probably not exactly what you're asking for, but a NYT article on the product: https://archive.is/2vdTu

They seem to be heavily implying stem cells:

“The cells know what to do,” Mr. Elfenbein said. “They become muscle fibers. They become fat tissue. They create the connective tissue that we know as meat.”

> ...especially if the net environmental impact is favorable.

Probably a stupid question, but is it possible for artificially grown meat to have a net positive environment impact? This seems like it parallels the "vertical farming" idea, which has its own pitfalls relative to traditional farming, like being powered by polluting power sources or the concentration of contaminated water.

From the landing page, there is this great claim: "the chance to eat the foods we love without sacrificing our food ideals"

But not information on how it is produced. So I won't know, whether it really matches my food ideals.

I mean, how does it get produced? From real fish stem cells?

So still, there needs be dead fish in the process at some point? So how many fish do you need to kill, to produce one portion of sushi? Or can you grow forever, with one batch of stem cells? (probably not I guess)

Without knowing this and about what else is involved in the production chain, I really cannot believe such statements.

I don't know about WildType specifically, but it's not necessarily true that a salmon would need to die at any point in the process. Cells from a simple muscle biopsy could be cultured for this purpose, and a single biopsy may have the potential to produce a great deal of cells depending on the culture conditions. Or they may have developed an immortalized salmon cell line from an initial biopsy that they can proliferate indefinitely (though this leads to questions about genetic drift after a certain number of population doublings; I'm sure they would have a bunch of frozen vials to restart from early passage numbers every few batches though).

Plus as a lapsed-vegetarian I'm excited for lab grown meats even if there's an animal killed at some point in the process. It's impossible to choose a food without at least some harm. How many fish are killed by fertilizer runoff or damming for irrigation or whatever else is needed for all forms of agriculture?

I'm going to assume a non-zero amount. So my view is the aim with all ethics-based dietary choices with the motivation of avoiding harm to animals is basically to optimize for least animals killed per calorie per 'sentience' unit or whatever.

All food choices are inherently non-zero in animal suffering and I don't think it's reasonable to hold lab grown meat to any higher standard.

"All food choices are inherently non-zero in animal suffering and I don't think it's reasonable to hold lab grown meat to any higher standard. "

I know. I am not even a vegetarian. (I just have a big problem with the industrial food machine)

But if something is advertised as totally ethical, then yes, it should hold to a higher standard.

I think you're both right. There are reasonable enough ways to get cell samples without killing the fish, but they're so short on details I assume they're hiding something. For all I know, it's a no-kill fish version of Theranos that just serves store-bough salmon from the back.

What I'm looking forward to is lab-grown meat that improves upon nature. Imagine pigs didn't exist but someone figured out how to make bacon in the lab. What do we not have on this Earth that makes bacon seem like chicken breast? What might we invent that's three levels past otoro?

Give it a decade and we'll be taking this to a level of customization where we'll be able to select our own level of marbling, connective tissue and water content.

Be careful what you wish for: people are programmed to like a fat and salt. Fatter salter meats probably aren't as good for you as nice lean salmon...

That's without the industrial side of this: meats with built in preservatives and colouring that are actually no good for you but look good and supermarkets will prioritise.

I think both GM and lab grown meat suffer from this issue: smart doesn't mean good for you, it means good for the sales person sadly.

If the increased tastiness means we eat more of it then it'll be good that the meat is fattier. In terms of macronutrients your body needs a certain amount of fat and a certain amount of protein but not necessarily any carbohydrates. But too much protein can lead to medical problems like gout so ancient hunters who lived off large animal kills tended to prefer the fattier cuts of their kills which were both tastier to them but also healthier given the rest of their diet.

As to salt you do have a point.

The evidence that salt is bad for you is actually quite weak and many people probably don't get enough.

What is lean about salmon though…? If it was lean it would taste like tilapia.

I agree in looking forward to it, but it is also possible that human taste and desire has evolved in conjunction with what food sources are available(either genetically or socially), so it really might be that bacon(or whatever) is actually the most delicious thing in the universe for humans.

I hope there's some novel, amazing-tasting compound we haven't discovered, but I'm halfway doubtful because of tastes that show up in multiple things. How many things taste like anise? Why does fenugreek smell disturbingly like maple syrup? Ever had a durian?

Personally I'm more interested in meat from species which don't reproduce in captivity, like some (all?) octopuses.

The problem with eating octopuses is they're smart enough to get revenge. As soon as they figure out how to not die of old age in a year, anyway.

Do they also grow it with shrimp cells so it turns pink or just use food coloring like they do with farmed salmon? [0]


It's not accurate to call astaxanthin just food coloring. It's the actual source of pink color in flamingos/algae/shrimp/lobsters and it's certainly not unhealthy.


Synthetic astaxanthin is only added to the corn/soy pellets in the feedlot because people don't buy gray salmon. It's a line item in the COGS, nothing more.

It's worth pointing out that there is no such thing as "sushi-grade" fish in the US. The fish used in commercial sushi is always flash-frozen on the ship. Neither the USDA or FDA have designations for fish similar to the grades they have for say beef. There is a regulation around freezing temperatures in order for it be sold for raw consumption but this has nothing to do with the quality of the fish. The regulation is used to guarantee parasite destruction. I can highly recommend the book "The Sushi Economy" by Sasha Issenberg for a very interesting look at how the sushi trade works.

The description makes sense though, since you have a controlled growth environment, you don't get parasites in this meat. Which is the goal of "sushi-grade" - you can eat it raw.

Is it worse to kill something for food, or deny it from ever living? I think personally I think I would prefer to have lived and be killed than not lived at all. I also kind of believe that things have an essence, a soul of sorts. So eating any part of an animal is still repulsive on some level.

I have no problem with killing wild animals for food. The problem is that it doesn't scale well for 7B humans. And who am I to tell the next human that they don't deserve a spot in the living world? To me, lab grown meat is a relatively attractive compromise.

Also, it's unclear what their process is, but it's possible that these are cells cultured from a handful of fish, not lab growth from new zygotes. I'm fine with it either way, though.

But you're setting up a false choice.

Our option here isn't "salmon exist and we kill them to eat them" or "no salmon exist."

Our option is "salmon exist and we kill them to eat them" or "salmon exist and live their lives in the wild unmolested, and we also get to eat salmon."

Widespread adoption of this technology would likely lead to more total salmon lives, as wild populations recover.

This seems non-obvious. How many salmon are farmed vs wild right now? Salmon is already protected and very expensive, so what's the potential for increase in wild population? 2x? 10x? And there would still be demand for "the real thing".

Farmed salmon incurs a heavy cost to the environment that surrounds said farms.

Demand for real salmon will still be around but it will be a rare delicacy, which is totally OK.

It wasn't a question about what's the best outcome for the environment. Parent poster claimed, "Widespread adoption of this technology would likely lead to more total salmon lives". Eliminating farmed salmon would be good for he environment, but it reduces the number of salmon lives.

Is wildcaught salmon popular and available? I literally cannot find any - anywhere. Then again I'm in Denver, which is not well known for its seafood.

It is seasonally fished, and too early for it to show up. If your stores are sourcing it from California, it might show up in May, or early summer.

In 2020 fishing was allowed for wild King salmon on these dates:

May: 1-12, 18-31 June 1-6, 14-30 July 13-31 August 1-28

Sockeye salmon is all wild, so if your store carries those, there you go.

Wild populations might not budge much as long as their historic spawning grounds up estuaries remain scarred by human development.

What is "it" from ever living. An stack of lumber does not make a table. The table doesn't exist until the wood is configured as such.

If this salmon meat is grown by replicating cells, then there was no "life" that was denied. Your statement would imply that it "existed" somehow before it came into some physical form.

Would you agree that you existed when you were just two cells? Would it be murder to travel back in time and kill the two cells that had the potential of becoming you. I think the current you would probably not want that to happen.

It would not be murder to travel back in time and kill two cells that had the potential of becoming "me". I don't believe in some meta-physical soul or essence, so there is no "me" in the two cells.

I exist today as a configuration of cells and experiences combined together.

If you crushed an acorn did you destroy a tree? Absolutely not... you simply crushed an acorn.

> If you crushed an acorn did you destroy a tree?

you destroyed something that had the potential of becoming a tree. Not really sure why you want to separate these out into two distinct entities. What would you consider an acron that sprouted a stem and a leaf? A tree or an acron? I think most people would see that an acron is still the same living being, just a different configuration of cells in a transitionary state to becoming a tree.

You are a distinct collection of cells. As opposed to your neighbour, who is also a distinct collection of cells, which is different from you. Every one of your cells is different than his cells, for one, because they all have different DNA than your cell's DNA.

Its fine to claim that you only exist in the present moment. But to deny that your past self also existed for you to exist now, seems a little discontinuous and meta physical.

Also at what time scale does your past self not exist. Since your perceptions are time delayed. You might stub your toe, but it will take a split second for your brain to notice.

> you destroyed something that had the potential of becoming a tree. Not really sure why you want to separate these out into two distinct entities

They are two distinct entities: the acorn in front of you actually exists as a collection of cells. The tree does not. The tree is an abstraction... a myth in your mind. It does not have any true physical properties.

Every egg is not a chicken. Every sperm is not a person. It has the potential, yes, but in the present moment an egg is simply an egg.

Typically these cultures come from biopsies of living animals. They aren't grown from fetal stem cells or eggs.

You would not be aware of your lack of life in the latter scenario.

Why don't plants fall into your "things that have an essence" category? They are alive. They communicate and work together.

I think plants do too. I wouldn't eat the last specimen of a super rare plant for example, and cause its demise forever. However, its a gradient of consciousness, and plants are below animals. Its not likely that they feel pain in any conventional way. Whereas an animal cell, was once part of a conscious being.

"sushi-grade" sounds like "fantastic" or any other not leverageable marketing promise.

The cells I suppose must be stem cells, induced with some solution to grow into a homogenous mass of soft tissue. I'm very confused about this.

Why just gimme the nutrient solution.

It typically depends on the fish. Usually sashimi/sushi grade fish consists of deep muscle tissue that is unlikely to contain parasites. EG: Fish that is suitable for eating raw. In the US all fish intended for raw consumption is frozen below -32F to kill any parasites. However this is just a guideline and health codes are enforced on a per-state basis. Sashimi/sushi grade is usually just a marketing term beyond that. You could slap a sticker saying as much on any fish you like.


That's a bit different than "fantastic", in that it is a much worse type of misleading, unless you concern was their lab is prone to parasites?

Yeah, sushi grade doesn't mean it's good. I doubt they have problems with parasites either. I would bet their sushi has to be completely sterile coming out of the lab or the culture will die pretty quick. In fact I wouldn't be surprised it it's swimming in antibiotics to prevent bacterial contamination.


Sushi-grade isn't a thing! It's marketing. I also doubt this follows the FDA rules for flash freezing that sushi grade implies given the lack of risk for parasites.

It would seem to be a reasonable term for "safe to eat raw". If the term is regulated, the term would have to be changed, but it does convey the right thing to the consumer.

Sushi-grade IS a thing with real fish. It means the meat has been inspected for parasites or frozen to kill them.

Unfortunately there is no enforcement of that. People often consider "sushi grade" what you've described but there isn't any official rating like there is for wines or beef.

Source: ex-commercial fishmonger

FDA guidelines dictate that fish sold for raw consumption must be frozen under one of the following conditions to kill parasites:

    -4°F (-20°C) or below for 7 days (total time)
    -31°F (-35°C) or below until solid, and storing at -31°F (-35°C) or below for 15 hours
    -31°F (-35°C) or below until solid and storing at -4°F (-20°C) or below for 24 hours
Whether or not this is enforced is another thing, but the absurdly low rates of sickness from sushi in the US are testament to the fact that companies are probably trying to protect consumers from the hazards of eating their raw fish.

With ground beef recalls left and right, we fortunately live in an age of avoiding large-scale liability.

It's a marketing term. The FDA doesn't label things sushi grade. It does have rules for fish that are going to be eaten raw. Your fish was either frozen to spec to not. *Sorry, it's just one of those things I'm nitpicky about.

I am not following. If it is labeled as "sushi-grade" then it is being sold to be eaten raw, and the rules apply, yeah?

Assuming a reputable fish monger!

Why would lab grown tissue have parasites?

That's the point.

At least here in California, when someone selling fish says that it is "sushi-grade" they just mean it's okay to eat raw. Usually I think that means it was flash-frozen to kill parasites, maybe with this sort of fish production mechanism it just doesn't have any parasites in the first place.

According to Google, their site doesn't mention "FDA" or "USDA-FSIS", both of which regulate parts of the lab grown meat process as of 2019. I assume they'll need some sort of approval to actually sell the stuff in the US.

What are their methods? Does this make $100/lb salmon?

"The sample of salmon cells served up in Portland cost $200 per sushi roll (six pieces)." https://www.hakaimagazine.com/features/the-faux-fish-coming-...

That's pretty damn good for an 0.1 release with no economies of scale.

We’re having Salmon v0.1 for lunch. Welcome to the future!

For reference, fresh, wild, King Salmon, which is only available at certain times of the the year (depends on your state/country), can be $30 a pound or more. At $100 or $200 a pound, they don't have that far to go to be in the ballpark.

I could see people paying that sort of money for 4 ounces of nigiri in some endangered species.

Cruelty free blue fin tuna, anyone?

Wonderful! I hope they publish the yucky details, it could be really interesting.

Also, I know this will be an industrial process for a long time, but I'm having fun imagining a day where a hobbyist can grow meat cultures at home. Like an advanced version of maintaining a sourdough starter.

I've got good news for you! The Shojinmeat Project's (https://shojinmeat.com/wordpress/en/) mission is the "democratization of cellular agriculture." They develop methods for DIY cultured meat (recently someone posted about developing a cell culture medium out of Red Bull). They do have a slack channel, but it's not super active recently. They're pretty active on Twitter though, and their website is a great resource. I would highly encourage you to also check out some of Yuki Hanyu's (founder) talks on YouTube; he's great.

This is a cool company that started out of QB3. One of the co-founders was a postdoc at UCSF working in regenerative medicine before starting wildtype. I think these wetlab incubator spaces near universities is really key to getting more biotech startups.

There's a number of pictures of the final sushi product.. but I couldn't find pictures of the actual salmon that was created in the laboratory or pictures/explanations of the lab process.

No mention of the nutritional value. Which is my concern with Beyond Meat as well. It's great that it's not meat from factory farming POV, but it's not nutritious food either.

I mean, it depends on your definition of nutritious, and what you're expecting from a burger.

Should you eat one for every meal? Probably not. I don't think "a burger for every meal" has ever been on anyone's nutrition plan.

Is it reasonably nutritious compared to a meat burger? Yeah.

Compared to ground beef, a Beyond Burger is pretty equivalent in terms of fat and calories. The Beyond has a few more carbs (but far fewer than most veggie meat alternatives), but also a few grams of fiber.

The Beyond burger has quite a bit of sodium, but probably most ground beef would by the time you got it ready to cook.

I think the beyond et al ranks worse after you cook it. When I cook with this stuff it has no fat inside to render out, so it soaks up cooking oil like a sponge to reach equilibrium. It's osmosis. I put in some olive oil in my pan to get some browning, and it's been soaked up dry in 30 seconds and I have to add more before the patty fuses to my pan. I can't help but think I'm eating a lot more grease. Not to mention you still need to use your salt and pepper and other seasonings, because it is quite bland. Probably intentionally to be widely palatable.

Beyond meat isn't lab grown animal cells, right? This is actual salmon.

Beyond Meat and Impossible Meat are imitation meat made with plants, aka "Meat Substitutes". This company is what's known as "Lab Grown Meat" where the end result is basically meat at the molecular level.

So theoretically this will have a very similar nutritional profile to farmed or caught salmon. At least thats one of the goals of the lab grown meat sector.

It fact, it might even have a better nutritional profile because it won't be exposed to ocean contaminants like mercury and plastic.

My doctor recommended BeyondMeat as an alternative to my soy-heavy diet because it's based on pea protein. What exactly makes BeyondMeat something that's not nutritious?

I mean, just because one thing is preferable to another doesn’t mean that both are good. Hitting yourself in the head with a smaller rock is preferably to hitting yourself with a larger rock.

I’m not a doctor or a nutritionist, but it appears that processed food has a host of negative effects according to recent studies (for example https://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/nih-study-find...). Now you can pick apart these studies, but ultimately we “know” very little about nutrition for certain, which is why there are so many conflicting studies.

What concerns me about fake meat products and why I won’t consume them is that they are heavily processed. In my limited experience, eating whole foods from fresh, organic suppliers is the way to go. I’ll let someone else be the guinea pig for processed foods.

We don't need to pick apart the study, but let's skim it so we know if it applies.

This system considers foods “ultra-processed” if they have ingredients predominantly found in industrial food manufacturing, such as hydrogenated oils, high-fructose corn syrup, flavoring agents, and emulsifiers.

I believe the study, even though small, reasonably shows that ingredients like hydrogenated oils or high-fructose corn syrup are bad for you.

That doesn't mean food that has gone through a process is bad, it means industrial scale food production often uses foul ingredients to reduce costs.

Processing != bad, But, mass market, massive scale, processed food production correlates with the use of bad ingredients. So just read the ingredient list on Beyond Meat or whatever processed food you want to try and see if there is stuff in it you don't want in you.

Careful how much oil you use to cook it, I find it soaks it up like a sponge and I tend to use a lot more than for cooking, say, ground chuck or other meat.

Maybe sodium? It tastes unusually salty.

What's your concern about the nutritional content of Beyond Meat? Its macros are comparable to that of the product it replaces.

They're still highly processed products.

We got used to vegetarian = healthy because for a while it meant grain, veggies and fruits. But today half of the vegetarian/vegan processed food is as bad as regular processed food.

I'll take an halloumi/spinach patty burger over a beyond meat burger every day

Why are processed foods automatically bad so long as the macronutrient / sodium profile is otherwise in line?

Because absorption and bioavailability are complex thing and even few missing micro can alter the nutritional value whole; processed and synthetic for trend to miss out on that fairly often

Not automatically, but macros aren't everything, a lot of additives they add to make up for nature's magic tricks are concerning (I don't know about beyond meat specifically, but for most processed food it is the case)

If all that mattered in nutrition were prots, fats, carbs and sodium it would be muuuuuuch easier but sadly it's infinitely more complex than that.

Isn't it high in saturated fat, cholesterol, and sugar?

It's not high in sugar. The macros are comparable to those of meat.

To replicate the mouthfeel of beef, you have to replicate all the negative qualities of the meat too. They are full of saturated fat.

Why would it have less nutritional value than a slab of muscle cells grown inside of a fish vs cells from that fish induced to grown in a tank?

I would guess nutritional value depends on what nutrients are fed to the fish (or the cells). The big benefit IMO is it shouldn't contain any mercury or other heavy metals that are present in some fish.

I imagine wild grown flesh is going to have tons of micro nutrients available (although also pollutants). That type of nutrition is hard to emulate in a lab setting.

>That type of nutrition is hard to emulate in a lab setting

I would assume it is easier to control that type of nutrition in a lab setting.

Unless you are implying that full grown salmon (and other meats) contain some nutrients which are crucial to human survival, not inherent in the salmons biology, and currently undiscovered.

The nutrients would be typically provided through diet. Indeed a lab could just amend the meat like they feed cows particular B vitamins. But those inputs have costs.

This is all just theoretical. Once a nutrient profile is published we can talk more seriously.

Which is fine as far as I'm concerned. We live in a world of nutrition surplus not deficit

We have a calorie surplus, certainly. The nutrition content is more complex.

It's true that for most people, the main malnutrition is a surplus of calories. If they're deficient in something, it's likely to be dietary fiber, and perhaps vitamin D. Salmon has none of the former, but it would be interesting to know how this stacks up in the latter.

It avoids the mercury ;)

Impossible burger has better nutritional profile than real meat burger.

I heard the same about vegetable oil and margarine replacing butter 15 years ago. That didn't bode very well...

Define better. Define real meat.

I would imagine the imitation meat patties are worse in some ways than a turkey patty.

Very cool. Any estimate on current or target costs?

If this is possible efficiently would help reduce destructive commercial fishing practices (just watched seaspiracy...).

This is a great business model. If they can culture a reasonable enough imitation of salmon then they can certainly do so for other fish that are even more expensive to farm and grow. They only have to come in just under the price of farm grown fish for this to take off like wildfire (which should be easy). This company could be immensely profitable very quickly.

Why wouldn't you do tuna in a vat instead? Higher value fish, and the culture requirements would be nearly identical.

Other companies working on cell-cultured fish:

Finless Foods: https://www.finlessfoods.com/

BlueNalu: https://www.bluenalu.com/

Just wanted to add a few more:

avant: https://www.avantmeats.com/

ShiokMeats: https://shiokmeats.com/

Umami: https://www.umamimeats.com/

Bluu Biosciences: https://www.bluu.bio/

Cell Ag Tech: https://cellagtech.com/

Clean Research: https://cleanresearch.org/ (they do a lot of stuff, but cultured fish is one of the things listed)

Cultured Decadence: https://www.cultureddecadence.com/

Please note a few of the companies (italicized) are very young, so their websites don't have much info.

I recommend this site for keeping up with which companies are active in the alternative proteins space: https://newprotein.org/. For cultured meat, click "Alternative Protein V 3.0" and it's in the top left (or just head to page 2 for a more zoomed in view).

> Join our waitlist

How real is this?

Yes, but how does it taste?

It's easier to overlook taste than price.

Depends who your target audience is. I imagine the audience for extremely expensive and hard to obtain artifically grown sushi with decent taste is probably bigger than the market for, say, extremely expensive and hard to obtain artificially grown hotdog meat with decent taste.

I wonder if this scales up to having a larger piece of meat, to make steaks and such. Or is it only good when its "raw" and sliced up real thin.

And the other question is what will the nutrition value be after it gets industrialised for mass production

Great, now do Chūtoro !

Welcome to the future.


Wait, Beyond meat is one of the main meat substitutes making the rounds alongside Impossible burgers, right? If I'm not mixing up my names, what makes it a pump and dump?

It seems like the discourse has shifted to describe even legitimate businesses that are overvalued in the opinion of an author as "pump and dump" or "ponzi scheme"

It’s maybe not entirely accurate, but it seems at least in the ballpark of a reasonable description for a public company that’s never made money and has no legible path to making money.

That said, it looks Beyond Meat made money in two quarters last year. So not a good fit on those criteria.

> It’s maybe not entirely accurate, but it seems at least in the ballpark of a reasonable description for a public company that’s never made money and has no legible path to making money.

Which is the whole point of YC. IPO over valued companies and dump it on the retailers while cashing out your chips. Never mind the structural dangers cheap capital pose when the cycle winds down.

There is debate about whether their technology is truly novel or whether it is just hype as soy protein based food manufacturing is not exactly new. Their most important technological achievement appears to be the artificial heme that they were able to source from a plant origin.

There's debate about whether Apple's technologies are truly novel, that doesn't mean they aren't a good business.

Don't think it counters your argument at all, but Beyond Meat is pea-protein based and contains no soy. The Impossible Burger is soy based.

If someone thinks X won't amount to anything, and is bound to fail, then it would not be a fore-gone conclusion to believe that the whole X endeavor is a pump-and-dump scheme to take money from people who don't "know" that its bound to fail. It's more of an indication of someone's opinion on a subject. I for one am rooting for Beyond and Impossible. The more food choices are available the better.

> another Beyond Meat style pump & dump

Whatever Beyond Meat is, "pump & dump" is off base. They may fail in their ambition but the attempt is real.



If this doesn't qualify as Frankenfood, I don't know what does. (This is nearly as scary as unproven, untested "vaccines" intended to provoke a life-long autoimmune response...)

Just what the heck is wrong with an actual fish, people??? If sales of this is allowed at all, it should be VERY conspicuously marked and labelled ALL the way to the table, especially in restaurants. The older I get, the more Bill Joy is proven wisely prescient...

My girlfriend and I have both spent years working in Sushi restaurants, and judging by those pictures alone, this "salmon" falls short of our fat requirement. I.e., it's kind of lean looking. We'd try it even at the high price point, but only if they come up with a fatty "salmon belly" edition.

I would have expected that lack of colouring as well for lab-grown salmon meat.

Wild salmon meat gets its pink shade from eating krill/shrimp according to https://qz.com/358811/heres-why-your-farmed-salmon-has-color...

Farmed salmon doesn't get enough krill/shrimp so the farmers have to add colouring to the farmed-salmon diet to get something close to the colour of wild salmon. see previous qz.com link.

At least you won't have to worry about microplastics in the lab-grown salmon meat. see https://www.ecowatch.com/are-microplastics-in-your-salmon-fi...

I understand that wild salmon and farmed salmon are vastly different in appearance, texture, taste, smell, and provenance. Wild is considered to be the healthiest by a lot of measures. Yes, I even remember the "microplastics in your fish" submissions here on HN. I've mentioned that I've worked at sushi bars, including ones offering wild-caught salmon, even with pamphlets at the counters advertising the virtues of wild caught over farm-raised. You are preaching to the choir here. :)

>I would have expected that lack of colouring as well for lab-grown salmon meat.

In my comment, I wasn't referring to lack of coloring. I was referring to lack of fat. In fact, more fat means less color overall, and I'm saying that's desirable. Why? Because in my experience, wild-caught salmon sushi doesn't sell as well, even in areas where patrons have higher than average disposable income and higher than average health consciousness.

This is the same issue you often see with grass-fed steaks vs. industrial steaks. Grass-fed steak is healthier for you by a lot of measures, and depending on your pallette, tastes better. I love my grass-fed steak. (I love my BeyondMeat and Impossible Burgers too.) But many people find it to be too "gamy" and that includes the handful of chefs I know. They aren't putting it on menus. Most people are unaware that "grass-fed" beef is actually "finished" on grain instead of grass in order to offset what would be and even more gamy taste than they're getting.

Now, I'm not saying that wild-caught salmon is gamy, but it does have a distinct taste, and is comparatively lean. Farmed salmon is like that dramatically marbled USDA prime steak. It's practically a different fish, it's a less healthy fish, and arguably a less ethical fish too, but it's what people most often choose. Imagine two ham and cheese sandwiches, but only one has mayo. Even people who think they don't want fattening mayo still prefer the sandwich with mayo. There are more analogies I could give with butter or lard or beef tallow. I don't need to prove this, just look at Paula Deen.

Wildtype, as the name implies, and as the pictures indicate to the discerning eye, is trying to me more like wild-caught salmon. There's a niche for salmon sushi rolls, a sub-niche for wild-caught salmon rolls, and a sub-sub-niche for people who want a lab-grown version of that. The point of my earlier comment is that I would rather see them target a market that's one less level of niche deep, and that's the theoretical holy-grail marbled looking high-fat farmed-style "USDA Prime" kind of lab-grown salmon, which I would rather eat, and I expect most other customers would rather eat too.

I just want to finish this comment with a disclaimer that I in no way mean to belittle the pioneering folks behind Wildtype, nor disparage any health, environmental, or ethically focused enthusiasts here who are really excited about this. It is exciting and great that Wildtype and other companies like this are doing what they do. I feel that it's important to say it, because my previous comment seemed to have struck a nerve, and that wasn't my intention.

How is it that anyone thinks you're going to grow nutritious tissue without an immune system and expect anything but bad long-term outcomes?

Not a biologist, but I recall the use of antibiotics is pretty common with cell culturing.

I had a rather rude awakening when I was reading about a biological mystery that centered on a yeast that would not culture in a Petri dish. On top of the late discovery of h. pilori, and knowing a few people with mystery chronic illnesses, i think most of us have been set up by our education to think that microbiologists just about have everything figured out when in fact relatively speaking we still don’t know a goddamned thing about the microscopic world. They think we’ve identified something like 0.1% of all fungi in the world. We have bacteria and molds that can evade detection. Antibiotic resistance in ones we can see.

I don’t agree that we can stack-rank priorities, and I hate many of the ways in which people say, “maybe they should put their energy into something else first,” but I suppose that’s exactly what I’m implying here.

It’s entirely possible that trying to make things like this work will illuminate some of those exact mysteries. I think I’m just worried what happens in between those two events.

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