Biology

New strain of seaweed tastes like bacon

New strain of seaweed tastes l...
Palmaria mollis could be a healthy stand-in for bacon
Palmaria mollis could be a healthy stand-in for bacon
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Palmaria mollis could be a healthy stand-in for bacon
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Palmaria mollis could be a healthy stand-in for bacon
Prof. Chris Langdon with his tanks of dulce
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Prof. Chris Langdon with his tanks of dulce
Langdon's original goal was to develop a seaweed that could be used as a "super-food" to feed farmed abalone
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Langdon's original goal was to develop a seaweed that could be used as a "super-food" to feed farmed abalone
"Culinary research chef" Jason Ball works with the dulce
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"Culinary research chef" Jason Ball works with the dulce

Seaweed is widely considered to be a health food. Bacon, on the other hand ... well, bacon isn't. There may yet be hope for pork belly lovers around the world, however. Scientists at Oregon State University (OSU) have patented a lab-bred strain of dulce seaweed, that they claim has "a strong bacon flavor" when fried.

Regular varieties of dulce have been eaten by people for many years, mainly as a food additive or nutritional supplement.

The new form (Palmaria mollis) was developed by a team led by OSU's Prof. Chris Langdon, who has been growing it in tanks of cold seawater at the university over the past 15 years. Not only does it apparently taste like bacon, but its translucent crinkly red leaves even look a bit like it, too.

Langdon's original goal was to develop a seaweed that could be used as a "super-food" to feed farmed abalone
Langdon's original goal was to develop a seaweed that could be used as a "super-food" to feed farmed abalone

Langdon's original goal was to develop a seaweed that could be used as a "super-food" to feed farmed abalone. The resulting dulce strain grows faster than its wild counterpart, and is said to be very high in minerals, vitamins and antioxidants, containing up to 16 percent protein by dry weight. Abalone did well on a diet of it, growing at rates "that exceeded those previously reported in the literature."

The idea of exploring its use as human fodder came about when Chuck Toombs from OSU's College of Business was looking for business projects for his students, since the new dulce strain can be farmed. "Culinary research chef" Jason Ball got involved at that point and after some experimentation, the seaweed's unique bacon-like taste was discovered.

Langdon is currently able to grow 20-30 lb (9-14 kg) of dulce per week in his two tanks, but is planning on upping that amount to 100 lb (45 kg). Toomb's students, meanwhile, are preparing a marketing plan for the seaweed, and examining its commercial feasibility as a large-scale aquaculture crop.

Source: Oregon State University via Inhabitat

9 comments
Tom Lee Mullins
Pork isn't the only type of bacon. There is also chicken bacon and turkey bacon. There is veggie bacon that contains no meat. I even heard of beef bacon.
DemonDuck
Anyone remember Dr. Bronner's chips? I do and what is described here sounds delicious. I'll take a bag right now.
JoeFivie
yummie
Bob Tackett
Someone subsidize this research!
William H Lanteigne
Pork bacon is the only "real" bacon. The other kinds are "healthier" substitutes. A healthy bacon alternative, however, is interesting. It might go well in a salad. I'm skeptical about a seaweed-based BLT.
Douglas Bennett Rogers
Saturated fat isn't the boogeyman it was 20 years ago. Atherosclerosis is an autoimmune disease which is the body's response to gluten fragments making it through the intestinal wall. The only bad fat is trans fat, which isn't found in bacon. The bad thing about pigs is that they eat the same things humans eat, unlike cows, which eat grass.
Tim Skidmore
Dulse and bacon... two of my addictions in one.
Kevin Ritchey
If you were to feed a pig this fodder, would you create a genetically-altered "super pig" that has bacon that is exponentially tasty? I'm willing to submit a grant proposal to test this hypothesis.
unklmurray
I not only eat Pork because it says it is unclean in the Bible, Butt it makes me extremely ill ,sufficiently so as to put me in the ER.......It seems the entire nation has gone on a "Bacon"Eating frenzy.....they have to have it in every thing....I mean I really like "dill pickles",But I don't like in my biscuits and gravy or chocolate covered 'dill pickles!"