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Microorganisms: Food for Future?

There is a company that develops new types of food using an aqueous alga as an ingredient. The company is euglena Co. in Japan, named after the scientific name of the alga, Euglena.

Microorganisms: Food for Future?

Edible euglena (Photo by euglena Co.,Ltd. All Rights Reserved.)

Euglena is a microorganism with the size of about 0.1 millimeter. The common name for Euglena in Japan is "Midori mushi" (meaning "Green bugs" in Japanese). They are not really bugs, however. They are algae living in ponds and rivers across the world. They have prosperities of both animal and plant. They can move and grow by generating nutrition from water, light and carbon dioxide. This small organism is now gathering attention with a possibility of becoming a food for our future.

Mr. Mitsuru Izumo, the President of the company, said, "Euglena has as many as 59 kinds of nutrients that are necessary for humans." Learning about people who are suffering from lack of food due to poverty in the world, Mr. Izumo established the company with his friends to make use of nutrient-rich euglena he studied at university.

To use euglena as a food ingredient, the company cultivates a large volume of euglena, followed by thorough washing, drying with a huge dryer type equipment powdering. One gram of powder euglena contains irons equivalent to about 50 grams of spinach, vitamin B1 equivalent to about 50 grams of pork liver, and so on. This powder is used as an ingredient for cookies and dressings. The company's original cookie contains about 0.2 billion euglena per piece.

Making cookies from microorganisms may sound startling to some people. But the cookie looks completely the same as ordinary cookies, and it tastes good with subtle sweetness. In the future, we may be able to eat euglena food not only in Japan but all over the world.

(February 16, 2012 3:36 PM)

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