Researchers at Oregon State have patented a new strain of seaweed that tastes like bacon when it’s cooked.
The seaweed, a form of red marine algae, looks like a translucent red lettuce. It also has twice the nutritional value of kale and grows very quickly.
According to Oregon State researcher Chris Langdon, his team started growing the new strain while trying to find a good food source for edible sea snails, or abalone, a very popular food in many parts of Asia. The strain is a new type of red algae that normally grows along the Pacific and Atlantic coastlines.
Chuck Toombs, Langdon’s colleague said he thought the bacon-seaweed had “the potential for a new industry for Oregon,” he told Oregon State in a press release.
Toombs then began working with the university’s Food Innovation Center, which created a range of foods with the seaweed as its main ingredient.
Langdon said no US companies grow red algae for people to eat, but the seaweed had been consumer by people northern Europe for centuries.
No analysis has been done yet to find out whether commercialising the bacon-seaweed would be practical, the team thinks the vegan and vegetarian markets may be interested.
Some red algae is sold in the US now, but it is different strain from the one harvested currently at OSU. Langdon says he is growing about 20 to 30 pounds of the stuff a week, but he plans to more than triple the production.
Credit: The Independent