The Sturgeon family, Acipenseridae, is made up of two subfamilies, Acipenserinae and Scaphirhynchinae and consists of a combined 27 species. Sturgeon are best known in the luxury culinary world as the fish from which the unique food ‘Caviar’ is produced. The roe of the fish are processed, salted and sold all over the world. However, today due to over fishing for Caviar in the Caspian Sea, all caviar is farmed and produced from a handful of sturgeon species, as well as smoked sturgeon meat, and other caviar based products.
However, whilst Sturgeon are revered for their sumptuous roe, the Sturgeon (Aciopenser) is a family of fish species that is classified as a ‘living fossil’, and scientific evidence has shown their presence as early as the late Cretaceous period, >150 million years ago. Acipenser fossils have also been found (dated by the very rocks that lie beneath the UK’s Exmoor National Park and the geology that defines its landscape, land use and settlement patterns, known as the Devonian period between 410 and 360 million years ago); in the geology of the Devonian period <300m years ago4.
The Sturgeon fish is therefore referred to as ‘primitive species’ because their shape appears unchanged since the earliest fossilised examples of the same fish. Sturgeon species mature to a reproductive age as late as 20-35 years and replenishment their eggs between two to six years only. Sturgeon are especially large fish and some have been caught up to 2000kg in weight. They also have an average lifespan of >150 years of age.
Human lifespans have only recently increased to 79/80 years of age on average, whereas the sturgeon has continuously lived up to 150 years of age for hundreds of millions of years, supporting a theory that the sturgeon fish has one of the lowest ‘inflammaging’ genetic properties.
This scientific fact forms the very ethos of Caviar Biotec and its mission to unlock the hidden genetic secrets of the Acipenseriformes.