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What The Poo? Japanese Researchers Turn Feces Into Food

Posted on the 03 November 2011 by Nerdywerds @NerdyWerds

What The Poo? Japanese Researchers Turn Feces Into Food


Uploaded by Mason Costa on November 3, 2011 at 12:03 PM


  Going to the market; in a creepy, disgusting future

For some reason, when I woke up this morning, I decided we should take a trip back to the weird side of technology and science. And folks, it doesn't really get any more weird than this. So stop me if you've been in this position; you go to the restroom and see the person before you left a present. The natural reaction is to think you could synthesize the proteins in it and eat them; right? Okay, so maybe this isn't a normal thought process; but that doesn't mean it hasn't happen. The Tokyo Sewage service approached a researcher at the Okayama Laboratory about a problem they were having. They had too much "sewer mud", aka human feces.

The researcher, Mitsuyuki Ikeda, analyzed the "mud" and found it to be a breeding ground for various bacteria. Quick injection; I'm no scientist, but I could have called that one. Anyway, My. Ikeda found a way to kill two birds with one disgusting stone; turn the poo in food. Unfortunately you did not read that wrong, he's actually succeeded at making food from waste. Believe it or not, the product is supposedly completely safe to eat, and actually tastes like beef.

The first step in the process is to cook the soon to be meat so as to kill the bacteria and extract their proteins. Then Mr. Ikeda adds soy proteins to enhance the flavor; how kind of him. Then this frankenmeat goes into a "reaction enhancer"; probably a chemical reactor of some kind. The reaction enhancer turns the current working product into a textured solid and then, as a 5 year old at heart, this is my favorite part, the meat comes out through an "exploder". We all know the biggest issue any of us have with this is the color, naturally. So the researchers add red food coloring, so it looks a bit less foreign to us all.

Currently, the cost of the meat has to include the research costs and all; making it's price tag about 10-20 times that of actually meat. But Ikeda hopes that by the time it goes to market they can price it roughly the same as regular meat. So good news everyone, instead of spending money of beef, you can spend the same amount on "recycled meat". The "meat" is actually healthier than traditional, or actual, meat, however. It contains an ideal mixture of 63% proteins, 25% carbohydrates, 9% minerals and 3% lipids. So at least it has that going for it. It would also cut down on greenhouse gas emissions, since slaughterhouses aren't involved in its making.

Personally, I can't get over the psychological barrier of eating human excrement. Regardless of how well it's been processed and sanitized. Heck, just a couple of years ago in Georgia, people nearly revolted when a county set up a waste water recycling plant. Even though this water was actually held to higher standards than normal, potable water is, the idea of it was too much for people. While I personally don't see this catching on in the states, it is definitely weird and satisfied my need for an offbeat story. So next time someone gives you the "eat poo and die look", maybe they're just thinking you look a bit famished. Who knows, because now, eating poo is apparently an option. Thanks for reading, I'm going to get a steak; a real steak.


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