Friday, March 25, 2011

If This Doesn't Make You Vegetarian, Nothing Will

Photo courtesy: Dano via TreeHugger

I'm sure your gag reflexes are in full effect right now and they should be. This is a weird one. A Japanese researcher has come up with an artificial meat that's made from human feces. According to Inhabitat, Japanese scientist Mitsuyuki Ikeda has come up with a burger made from soya, steak sauce essence, and protein extracted from human feces.

Researcher Ikeda is using sewage mud or human feces as one of the main ingredients in his artificial meat. According to Inhabitat, "[t]he lipids are then combined with a reaction enhancer, then whipped into "meat" in an exploder. Ikeda then makes the poop more savory, by adding soya and steak sauce."

The following video gives the highlights.

"In the food safety world we say, 'don't eat poop,'" said Douglas Powell, a professor of food safety at Kansas State University. "But if you're going to, make sure it's cooked."

The Japanese researchers isolated proteins from bacteria in sewage. The poop-meat concoction is prepared by extracting the basic elements of food — protein, carbohydrates and fats — and recombining them.

The meat is made from 63 percent proteins, 25 percent carbohydrates, 3 percent lipids and 9 percent minerals, according to Digital Trends. Soy protein is added to the mix to increase the flavor, and food coloring is used to make the product appear red.

The researchers came up with the idea after Tokyo Sewage asked them to figure out a use for the abundance of sewage in mud, Digital Trends says.

Powell is not familiar with the researchers' method, but said he guesses that they are first heat-treating the sewage before they reap its resources.

Powell said the idea is not all that different from eating plants that have been fertilized with manure or other excrement, because the nutrients in the poop become part of the plants.

"Theoretically, there's nothing wrong with this," Powell said. "It could be quite safe to eat, but I'm sure there's a yuck factor there," he said.

However, Powell said there is the potential for cross contamination in the laboratory where the poop meat is made. That's why it's a good thing the meat will eventually be cooked.

But what if the final product was not going to be cooked?

"I wouldn’t touch it, " Powell said.

Via TreeHugger and Live Science

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