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After pioneering cultivated pork in March 2021, South Korean cellular agriculture startup Space F has unveiled a host of new innovation including an upgraded version of its existing cultivated pork prototype, a brand new cultivated beef prototype, presented as meatballs and a patty and their first cultivated chicken fillets and nuggets.
The newly improved cultivated pork has been produced as a traditional German weisswurst, meaning ‘white sausage’. Formulation tweaks included using less scaffolding than the first iteration and developing greater muscle tissue feel. The upgraded prototype is considered to resemble conventional pork much more in its fibrosity.
Progress without serum
Space F’s initial pork offering was created in conjunction with Sejong University. At the time of reporting, it was noted that lead scientists were excited by the prospect of developing technology for potential commercialisation of cultivated meats. The team acknowledged that they had begun to work on producing beef and that dream has come to fruition, almost one year later. The key difference is a desire to remove unethical components.
Space F have concentrated their efforts on developing cultivated meat without Foetal Bovine Serum (FBS). An ethical minefield for the sector, increasing numbers of companies are seeking to source alternatives. The startup has been explicit in its revelation that it is progressing by using a “serial-free medium” coupled with a “cellmass incubator” to get fast, ethical results.
“We have built a foundation technology for unit price reduction using mass production techniques and serum-free cultures by comparing this prototype and existing culture meat,” Kim Byunghoon, CEO of Space F said in a statement. “We will actively respond to consumers’ diverse needs in the food market.”
Space F held a symposium of the Korean Society of Cellular Agriculture (KSCA) last month. Consumer needs and the future of the industry was discussed in length, with fellow food sector leaders. CJ CheilJedang was amongst the participants, hot on the back of its recent vegan meat brand development.
Partnering for success
Last year, Space F announced a strategic partnership with the Daesang Corporation. The aim was to make South Korea’s cultivated meat sector a global player. The two are on track to commercialise products by 2025, pending regulatory approval. Price parity with conventional meat is expected to be assisted by Daesang’s further partnership with Xcell Therapeutics. The company is a developer of serum-free mediums, suitable for use in cultivated meat applications.
August 2021 saw Space F close a successful Series A funding round, securing $6.3 million. Funding was earmarked for research and product development. The company, with realised prototypes in hand, is now seeking to invest in its technology in preparation for production scale-up.
South Korea stakes a claim on cultivated meat
Though the country has been demonstrating a keenness to meet vegan food demands, South Korea has been busy developing its cultivated sector as well. Perhaps unusually, seafood has been a focal point. CellMEAT, in particular, has been celebrating significant breakthroughs in recent months.
In December last year, the company debuted the world’s first ever cultivated Dokdo shrimp prototype. A number were created, in various shapes and sizes, to demonstrate commercial potential. A focus on expensive seafood is being maintained, with king crab and lobster slated for development in the future.
Lead image courtesy of Space F.