UPDATE: We think we may have gotten duped! Like many other webites, we picked up on the story below that a Japanese researcher had found a way to turn human feces into an edible protein. One of our commenters on Facebook suggested that this story was a hoax and after some investigation, we think he might be right. We emailed the researcher for clarification, but have not yet heard back. But in the meantime, we did find this piece on Salon by Justin Elliot, who traced the origin of this story back to a Youtube video and also found several similar headlines that popped up online in the 1990s. We'll let you know if we hear back from the researcher. In the meantime, our apologies.
We're all familiar with what you do if life hands you a lemon. You make lemonade, right? But what if life literally hands you a turd? Well, if you're Japanese researcher, Mitsuyuki Ikeda, you do this: create an edible steak made from human feces.
We've previously reported on some colorful bowel movements, but this bowel-to-plate movement is way beyond colorful. In fact, it's almost beyond the pale. However, once your dry-heaves subside, what's even more absurdly stomach-churning is this idea is not only plausible, its already been taste-tested.
When Tokyo Sewage approached Mitsuyuki Ikeda, a researcher from the Okayama Laboratory, and asked him to explore potential uses for an overabundance of sewage mud, Ikeda found that, because of all the bacteria, the mud contained large amounts of proteins.
WIDE ANGLE: Poo Power
Ikeda and his team isolated those proteins, combined them with a reaction enhancer and put it in an exploder, thereby creating le cuisine de merde. The lab-grown steak is made from 63 percent proteins, 25 percent carbohydrates, 3 percent lipids, 9 percent minerals (and 100 percent you've-got-to-be-kidding-me). Researchers enhanced the flavor with soy protein and used red coloring to give the poo-burger that appetizing, meaty charm. According to DigitalTrends, initial taste-tasters have said the butt steaks even tastes like beef.
But is this meat safe?
Experts say, in theory, yes. But to kill any toxic pathogens, the meat must obviously be cooked.
WIDE ANGLE: Tissue Engineering
"In the food safety world we say, 'don't eat poop," Douglas Powell, a professor of food safety at Kansas State University, told MyHealthNewsDaily. "But if you're going to, make sure it's cooked."
Powel did say there was a potential for cross contamination in the lab where the bowel loaf was developed, but said the idea in not that different from eating vegetables that have been fertilized with manure or other excrement.
"Theoretically, there's nothing wrong with this," Powell added."It could be quite safe to eat, but I'm sure there's a yuck factor there."
[Via Yahoo News]
Credit: Lew Robertson/Corbis