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Carst and Walker
Meat from faeces

Japanese scientist synthesizes meat from human faeces

Is this the ultimate closing of the food chain loop – meat synthesized from human faeces? Mankind has come up with all sorts of ideas for new meat sources from cloned animals to chowing down on insects, but this idea may be the most outlandish yet.

Out of Japan comes news of scientific work that has successfully derived a tasty meat analog from protein derived from human faeces.

The Tokyo Sewage service in Japan serves over 13 million people over approximately a 2 200 square kilometer area.  It approached Mitsuyuki Ikeda, a researcher from the Okayama Laboratory, if he could come up with some solutions to an overabundance of “sewer mud”.  

Ikeda found that the mud contained a great deal of protein which he extracted, combined and cooked them with a reaction enhancer, and added soy protein for flavour and red colour before extruding an “artificial steak”. The “meat”, much healthier than traditional meat, contains 63% proteins, 25% carbohydrates, only 3% lipids and 9% minerals. Initial tests have people saying it even tastes like beef.

Ikeda believes the main obstacle to deploying excrement meat to the masses is the “psychological barrier.”  He states, “I admit that few people would be keen to eat it knowing its made of human excrement.”

How much would the “meat” cost?  Ikeda comments, “As far as the cost is concerned, because at the moment it includes the cost of research our artificial meat is 10 to 20 times more expensive than normal meat.  But once the research is complete and it’s put on the market, we’ll probably be able to price it at roughly the same level as normal meat.”

The new meat would also cut down on the greenhouse gas emissions, which traditional livestock produce. In that regard it could even earn “carbon credits” helping its price to be cheaper than animal-derived meat.

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