This project investigates if the culture of lower tropic level jellyfish could be a resource-efficient protein supply. | Photo: Achim Meyer, ZMT


Food provisioning on our planet is progressively challenged by population growth, resource scarcity and climate change. To ensure equal food security and nutrition in the future, a diversification of protein sources is crucial to enhance global food systems resilience.

In the project “Food for the Future” (F4F) a number of Leibniz institutes and private sector partners conduct interdisciplinary research focusing on novel food protein sources. In this consortium ZMT is exploring innovative aquaculture solutions.  

Currently, marine aquaculture supplies animal protein mostly through monoculture of finfish and  crustaceans. Unfortunately, these practices are considered unsustainable due to their dependency on fishmeal and fish oil. Therefore, the culture of lower tropic level jellyfish, could be a more resource efficient protein supply.

The potential of jellyfish aquaculture

Historically, jellyfish have been consumed in China for over 1,700 years. Nowadays, at least ten jellyfish species (all Rhizostomeae) are commercially harvested in China, Japan and other parts of South East Asia. The consumption of jellyfish has been traditionally valued for its health benefits. Nutritional analyses reported protein levels up to 50% (dry weight), with high quantities of unique amino acids, such as γ-polyglutamic acid (γ-PGA) and polylysine, in some jellyfish.

Moreover, a number of edible jellyfish showed rich profiles of conditionally essential amino acids, which are useful to be supplemented exogenously to people who are suffering from amino acids malnutrition. The global demand for jellyfish increased progressively, and caused already overexploitation of natural stocks. This causes continuously growing interest in jellyfish aquaculture, with many promising aquaculture candidate species remaining to be discovered. 


Project Partners

Research focus I – Organisms: IGZ – Leibniz Institute for Vegetable and Ornamental Crops, ZMT – Leibniz Centre for Tropical Marine Research, ATB – Leibniz Institute for Agrucultural Engineering and Bioeconomy

Research focus II – Urban Bio-Spaces: IAP – Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP, Polymeric Materials and Composites PYCO

Research focus III – Smart Nutrition: TU Wildau – Technical University of Applied Sciences Wildau, DIfE – German Institute of Human Nutrition

Research focus IV – Social Science: IGZ – Leibniz Institute for Vegetable and Ornamental Crops, ZMT – Leibniz Centre for Tropical Marine Research, HU – Humboldt University Berlin, FUB – University Berlin

Further Collaborations: OSRAM – Opto Semiconductors GmbH, InnoMat – InnoMat GmbH, TU – Terra Urbana Umlandentwicklungs-GmbH, ADM – Wild Europe GmbH & Co. KG