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'Doesn't taste like seaweed at all,' enthuses boffin

There's disturbing and yet possibly uplifting news today on the science beat, depending how much you like eating bacon – and/or things grown in bubbling vats.

That's because boffins in Oregon say they have managed to grow a kind of algae or seaweed in bubbling vats and that it is in every way as nice to eat as proper bacon made out of pigs.

"This stuff is pretty amazing," insisted fisheries prof Chris Langdon. "When you fry it, which I have done, it tastes like bacon, not seaweed. And it’s a pretty strong bacon flavour.”

The stuff in question is a special patented variety of "succulent red marine algae", as Langdon and his colleagues described it. It is easily grown, in "bubbling containers" or vats of sea water.

Biz prof Chuck Toombs said he was very excited about the commercial potential of the vat-grown algal bacon. He claimed it was "a super-food, with twice the nutritional value of kale".

“The fact that it grows rapidly, has high nutritional value, and can be used dried or fresh certainly makes it a strong candidate,” added colleague Gil Sylvia.

Pleasingly, or possibly terrifyingly, it seems that the algal bacobomination is very easily cultured. All you need is a bubbling vat of seawater and some sunlight. Langdon is already producing thirty pounds of the stuff every week, and plans to up this to 100lb weekly.

“Theoretically, you could create an industry in eastern Oregon almost as easily as you could along the coast with a bit of supplementatiom," said Langdon.

There's more on the synthibacon developments from Oregon State Uni here. ®

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