Scientific Team Creates First and Only Publicly Available Fish Muscle Cell Line From the Atlantic Mackerel – vegconomist

The Tufts University Center for Cellular Agriculture (TUCCA) has announced a new scientific paper published in Nature, where Michael Saad, a PhD student at Tufts University, and his team explain how they created what they claim to be the first and only publicly available fish muscle cell line from the Atlantic Mackerel. 

Called Continuous fish muscle cell line with capacity for myogenic and adipogenic-like phenotypes, the study provides the first spontaneously immortalized fish muscle cell line for research, ideally serving as a reference for subsequent investigation. 

“Here, we established and characterized a continuous Atlantic mackerel (Scomber scombrus) skeletal muscle cell line (“Mack” cells),” says the report.

3d printer fish
© xiaoliangge

Without genetic engineering

According to TUCCA’s announcement, these cells are immortalized without genetic engineering and can turn into muscle and fat.

“For a field like cell ag that lacks standardization in research, his Mack1 cell line (and soon to be banked Mack2) is exactly what cultured seafood needs. Think of it as the C2C12 of aquatic cell culture,” added TUCCA.

The study’s scientific team includes Michael Saad, John Yuen Jr, Connor Joyce, Xinxin Li, Taehwan Lim, Talia Wolfson, Justin Wu, Jason Laird, Sanjana Vissapragada, Olivia Calkins, and Adham Ali.

umami meats' seafood
© Umami Meats

Recent developments in fish cell lines

  • Umami Meats: Last October, the Singaporean company announced it had filed a patent for its single-stem cell technology that uses mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) lines from fish. It argued it only requires one cell type and one production line to cultivate muscle and fats, unlike other methods that require multiple production lines and cell types. 
  • CellQua: This South Korean startup recently emerged, announcing that it has various types of fresh and seawater species cells under development, including zebrafish, Japanese eel, squid, pacific abalone, pacific oyster, Japanese flying squid, and white-leg shrimp, among others.

“Cell culture research on aquatic and marine species is relatively understudied when compared to mammalian cell culture research, with zebrafish as an exception. 

“Cellular aquaculture has the potential to alleviate fish sourcing concerns, with a focus on production efficiency, scaling, and controlled cultivation environments to address food security concerns. However, to date there are no available fish skeletal muscle cell lines to produce cell-cultured fish meat, or to use as a model for research, like immortalized C2C12 mouse myoblasts for mammalian muscle cell culture,” reads the introduction of the report.

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