CHICAGO, Ill. – July 28, 2022 – Food tech startup Aqua Cultured Foods announced today it has added key hires to its technical team, filling in roles to advance texture, growth, and culinary appeal of its whole-muscle cut, sushi-quality, animal-free tuna, whitefish, calamari, shrimp, and scallops derived from microbial fermentation.
“Talent is a critical part of the infrastructure we’re building, and we need to scale our team as we scale our production,” said Aqua Director of R&D Bob Schultz. “These skills are in high demand in the food tech industry, so it’s huge to bring in such exceptional people.”
Mary Kasper, Ph.D. has joined the team as Biomaterials Scientist. Kasper holds a bachelor’s degree in Materials Science and Engineering from North Carolina State University and a doctorate in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Florida. She has been published multiple times in highly respected biomaterials journals, and has a pending patent on a degradable hydrogel chemistry that she formulated during her graduate research. Her work has spanned ferroelectricity to medical engineering applications, but her passion for research that makes an impact led her to alternative proteins.
Bioengineer Alex Ruzicka has taken the role of Strain Engineer to oversee growth optimization. Ruzicka’s background in using microbial engineering techniques to solve problems in bioenergy, environmental engineering and agriculture has included biodegradable plastics, biofuels and engineering soil microbiomes as an alternative to reliance on agricultural fertilizers and pesticides. He has filed for a patent on a novel microbiome engineering technology he co-invented, and has a bachelor’s in Biochemistry from the University of Illinois.
Food scientist Devon Truelove has accepted a permanent role as Product Developer following an internship at Aqua, when he assisted in creating Aqua’s calamari alternatives in seasoned and breaded formats, as well as sushi rolls and dumplings. He is a graduate of the prestigious Johnson & Wales University with a bachelor’s in Culinary Science, and has years of restaurant and foodservice experience. While still an undergraduate, his experimentation with hydrocolloids led to creating a cost-effective vegan gelatin alternative.
Aqua is developing mycoprotein-based calamari, shrimp, scallops, and whole-muscle cut filets of animal-free tuna and whitefish with a realistic taste and texture. Aqua’s fermentation methods do not use any animal inputs, genetic altering or modification and can be marketed as non-GMO. Unlike plant-based processed foods formulated with starches and protein isolates, Aqua’s alt-seafood retains its naturally occurring fiber, protein, and other micronutrients.
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About Aqua Cultured Foods Aqua Cultured Foods is an innovative food technology startup developing the world’s first whole-muscle cut seafood alternatives created through microbial fermentation. Its novel technology produces a sustainable, complete protein source using only a fraction of the resources required by traditional aquaculture. As an R&D company with a focus on product commercialization, Aqua Cultured Foods occupies a unique position in the burgeoning alt-seafood market as well as within the fermentation industry. The company’s mission is to mitigate global challenges such as overfishing, climate change and feeding the world’s expanding population with delicious, nutrient-rich foods. Investors include Supply Change Capital, Aera VC, HPA, Sustainable Food Ventures, Hanfield Venture Partners, Lifely VC, Conscience VC, Kingfisher Capital, Big Idea Ventures, and Gonzalo Ramirez Martiarena. For more information visit https://www.aquaculturedfoods.com.