New method allows production of premium caviar from live sturgeon

AWI is out-licensing a solution for sustainable caviar production

Through observation of natural processes during egg fertilization, a new process for caviar production from eggs that were stripped from live female sturgeons without killing the fish was developed at the Alfred Wegener Institute.

Through AWI research in the past years, the relevant signalling molecules for the treatment of naturally born sturgeon eggs were identified, by which the eggs are enabled to  stabilize themselves for caviar processing. The appropriate terms of application were analysed and the process standardised to industrial scales. In the innovative process, signalling molecules in very small natural concentrations activate a machinery of enzymes which stabilise the eggs’ membranes within milliseconds. This new method has been patented in relevant countries.

The advantages of this technology are obvious: no denaturation and quality loss occurs, the eggs remain in their native state. Harvesting of eggs is harmless for the fish and, thus can be repeated many times, which reduces production costs for fish breeding considerably.

The method does require controlled conditions and methodical correct timing. If conducted correctly, the quality of the caviar is superb. The caviar produced according to the AWI method is also particularly clean and pure as has been shown in high-resolution microscopy images (see below). There are no blood vessels and follicle cells sticking to the eggs’ surface (which occurs when rubbing the immature eggs out of the gonads). Thus, the caviar does not need any preservatives (Borax), has a long shelf life of up to 9 months (salted malossol) and exhibits a fine fresh marine taste.  

License requests can be directed to AWI.

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For licensing requests, please contact: AWI Technology Transfer Offic:


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