IntegriCulture produces the world’s first cell-cultured foie gras without any serum or growth factor
- After a sensory evaluation meeting with chefs in late February, the company aims to scale production by the end of 2023

Tokyo, Japan, February 21, 2023 − IntegriCulture, a cellular agriculture infrastructure platform company, has successfully cultivated foie gras from duck liver-derived cells using its proprietary CulNet system. This is the world’s first cultivated foie gras to be grown with basal medium only, using no costly serum or growth factors.

cell-cultured foie gras

The CulNet system is IntegriCulture’s flagship technology designed to combat the main obstacle to scaling cultivated meat: exorbitantly expensive serum and growth factors. The system allows cells of all species to grow without exogenous protein components like albumin, transferrin, insulin, or other growth factors.

To inaugurate the success of the CulNet system, IntegriCulture collaborated with Shuta Mori, chef at global hospitality management company Plan Do See, to develop a cell-based foie gras flavored flan. The flan was the subject of a sensory evaluation meeting at the Aoyama Grand Hotel in Tokyo.

Now that IntegriCulture has proven the CulNet system works, the company plans to collaborate with the rest of the CulNet consortium to reduce costs and establish a stable mass production system by the end of 2023. IntegriCulture will also continue to partner with chefs to create new menu items and food experiences using cell-cultured duck liver-derived cells.

Cell-based foie gras flavored flan, tasted and subjected to sensory evaluation on February 21, 2023
CEO Hanyu (right) and CTO Kawashima (left) at IntegriCulture Inc. in front of the food for the sensory evaluation and Chef Mori (centre) serving the food
 Representatives of the CulNet Consortium performing the sensory evaluation

Why foie gras?
Traditional foie gras is produced by force-feeding ducks and geese until their livers become painfully engorged. Because of the exceptional cruelty involved in foie gras production, there is growing international consensus to curtail the practice with the British Royal Family even issuing a ban on serving foie gras in their official residence. Cellular agriculture offers a way to preserve an otherwise dying culinary delicacy.

About IntegriCulture Inc.
IntegriCulture is the cellular agriculture company responsible for developing the CulNet system, a proprietary cell culture technology which provides a platform for growing food, materials, leather, and more. The CulNet system simulates and mimics the interactions between organs in an animal body. IntegriCulture’s technology is capable of culturing animal cells on a large scale at low cost, and the company is currently conducting research on its use in various applications including cultivated meat, leather, fur, and cosmetic ingredients. To date, IntegriCulture has achieved in-house production of growth factors (serum-like components), the biggest cost driver of cultivated meat. IntegriCulture is currently accelerating efforts toward producing cell-cultured foie gras.

About the CulNet Consortium
The CulNet consortium, established in April 2021, is an open innovation platform for cellular agriculture with 15 participating companies including IntegriCulture, the founding organizer. Although cellular agriculture products like cultivated meat have attracted widespread attention for simulating the “real thing” better than plant-based substitutes, the industry must first reduce production costs, confirm safety, and develop practical manufacturing plants that enable commercial production. The CulNet Consortium consists of companies with high technological capabilities in various fields, including culture media, cultivation, and equipment, who together are collaborating to overcome barriers through open innovation.

Participating companies:
In alphabetical order: Chiyoda Corporation, DAI-DAN CO., LTD., EBARA CORPORATION, Hamano Products Co., Ltd., House Foods Group Inc., IntegriCulture Inc., Mitsui DM Sugar Co., Ltd., NICHIREI FOODS INC., Nissan Chemical Corporation, San-Ei Gen F.F.I., Inc., Sumitomo Riko Company Limited, TAIYO NIPPON SANSO Corporation, and three additional unnamed companies as of February 21, 2023.

About Plan Do See Inc.
Plan Do See Inc. is a hotel management company with the mission of "bringing Japanese hospitality to the world.” They operate restaurants and hotels in five countries globally. The chef in charge of menu development with IntegriCulture is Mr. Shuta Mori, executive chef at the Aoyama Grand Hotel in Tokyo.