IntegriCulture and JT Group: Successful development of I-MEM 2.0, a bulk raw material-based basal medium that minimizes use of highly processed raw materials
September 19, 2023 - 5 min read
Tokyo, Japan, September 19, 2023 - IntegriCulture Inc., a cellular agriculture infrastructure company, in a joint effort with JT Group under the scheme of CulNet Consortium, has developed “I-MEM 2.0”, a food grade basal medium that minimizes the use of highly refined materials.
Refined amino acid components have traditionally been the main cost driver of basal medium. In “I-MEM 2.0”, some amino acid components are replaced with yeast extract, a widely used ingredient in the food industry.
A recent preprint has raised a concern that the use of highly refined biopharma-grade ingredients for the production of cell-cultured meat may result in environmental impact many times greater than that of conventional animal agriculture. The cellular agriculture sector currently explores the possibility of switching from highly refined materials to agricultural products, and I-MEM 2.0 serves as one of the first successful demonstrations of such effort.
I-MEM 2.0 has been tested with positive results for bovine muscle-derived cells, duck liver-derived cells, primary cells from five organs of chicken (muscle, liver, kidney, lung and brain), as well as rat-derived liver epithelial cells (RL34 cells), thereby demonstrating potential universality for various cellular agriculture product categories. I-MEM 2.0 is currently a patent pending, with a product launch to follow.
Comment by Yuki Hanyu, CEO of Integriculture Inc.:
We believe that the successful development of I-MEM2.0 with JT Group is a demonstration of partnerships in building an effective, inclusive and accessible infrastructure for cellular agriculture. We believe that “I-MEM 2.0” based on unrefined bulk food products validates the promise of cell-cultured meat being an actual solution to the world’s protein problem. We will continue with our active effort of establishing new partnerships to develop tangible solutions for our food system.
Comment by Hiromasa Furukawa, Senior Vice President, Food Business, Japan Tobacco Inc.:
JT’s Processed Food business is working to develop new foods while actively utilizing evolving technologies in order to continue fulfilling its business purpose of “Bringing Joy to Meals and Fun to the Table” over the medium to long term. Our partnership with IntegriCulture and our participation in the CulNet Consortium are true reflections of these efforts, and we are delighted to be able to announce the co-creation of I-MEM 2.0. In addition to the wide-ranging food technologies that JT and Tablemark have cultivated, we will continue to promote research and development into new areas and contribute to the development of cellular agriculture, and therefore the establishment of sustainable industries.
- Environmental impacts of cultured meat: A cradle-to-gate life cycle assessment Derrick Risner, Yoonbin Kim, Cuong Nguyen, Justin B. Siegel, Edward S. Spang bioRxiv 2023.04.21.537778; doi: https://doi.org/10.1101/2023.04.21.537778
- Primary cells refer to cells obtained directly from living tissue.
- Epithelial cells are the cells that cover the surface of the body, body cavities and organs.
- Dulbecco’s MEM (DMEM) is a basal media commonly used in the biotechnology industry for applications such as drug discovery and regenerative medicine.
About the CulNet Consortium
The CulNet consortium, established in April 2021, is an open innovation platform for cellular agriculture with 13 participating companies including IntegriCulture, the founding organizer. Although cellular agriculture products like cell-cultured 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 media, cultivation, and equipment, who together are collaborating to overcome barriers through open innovation. More information: https://integriculture.com/product/
IntegriCulture Inc. has developed a chemically defined universal basal medium trademarked as “I-MEM” (IntegriCulture - Minimum Essential Media) by reconstructing Dulbecco’s MEM (DMEM)4 only using components approved for food use. With the launch of “I-MEM 2.0”, the original chemically defined IMEM will be rebranded as “I-MEM 1.0”, and it will continue to be available. More information on IMEM-1.0: Contact Us for Basal medium I-MEM | Product | IntegriCulture Inc.
About IntegriCulture Inc.
IntegriCulture Inc. takes the proprietary cell-type and species agnostic “CulNet® system” technology to a biomanufacturing infrastructure for applications such as food, cosmetics, ingredients and materials. Our pilot scale effort has already achieved the production of serum components, which have historically been a costly component in cell culture. This achievement eliminates the need for expensive inputs such as fetal bovine serum (FBS), insulin, transferrin and growth factors, resulting in significant cost savings in cellular agriculture and its supply chain management. Our goal is to create a future with a universally accessible infrastructure of cellular agriculture utilized by entities of different sizes and sectors.
About JT Group - Processed Food Business
Japan Tobacco Inc.’s Processed Food business covers the frozen food and room temperature food businesses led by TableMark Co., Ltd., and the seasoning business led by Fuji Foods Corporation. In addition to these businesses, we are exploring various growth opportunities for further business growth beyond the traditional framework. TableMark’s Food Research and Development Institute was established in 2022 as a research and development organization for all aspects of the processed food business. In order to realize its business purpose, TableMark is actively engaged in exploring business seeds for the future, developing technologies owned by JT Group, and actively engaging in open innovation with other businesses and industries.