I'll have a billion Euglena and a small fries to go... don't laugh, the day may soon come when the Golden Arches will be serving up McMicrobes by the multi-million, a billion or so per burger.
Ladies and gents, I give you the Euglena, the key critter that could someday eclipse the cow and in doing so, put an end to the mega meat manufacturing machine that has shown itself to be anything but environmentally friendly.
Euglenas are protists, single-celled organisms that incorporate chloroplasts in their bodies. This attribute allows them to hunt down and eat food amoeba-style and/or, in the presence of sunlight, absorb and process energy from the sun.
There are over 1,000 known species of Euglena, known as “midori mushi” (literally “green bug”) in Japanese. While compiling a meat patty from actual green bugs is, well, kinda gross, Euglenas are so tiny you really don't know WHAT you're eating... which is basically how it is with fast food anyway.
Compared with actual beef, Euglenas stack up rather well nutritionally: they provide a good balance of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, unsaturated fatty acids, and 59 different kinds of nutrients. They can also be “raised” in quantity, which is exactly what a pilot project of Tokyo University is doing on the Japanese island of Ishigaki, located southeast of Okinawa.
By raising Euglenas in their natural environment, an optimum level of purity and vitality can be achieved. The Euglena are harvested and dried to a powdered form that can be mixed with water and formed into any desired shape. Patties, nuggets, it's all good!
According to Tokyo Walker's intrepid taste-testers, Euglena burgers have a flavor reminiscent of fish meal and an aroma of seaweed and kelp – not what aficionados of char-broiled, juicy beef burgers might be expecting, but good enough for the majority of fast-foodies out there.
Besides, in the future who knows what burger joints will be serving. Euglena may be green, but at least it's not Soylent Green.
The Euglena Burger shown above, slathered with mayo, topped with BLT and sandwiched between a substantial bun sells for the princely price of 1,500 yen (around $18.75).
Uh huh... seems we still have a ways to go here. How 'bout we trade straight-up for a juicy t-bone steak, hmm? I'm all for saving the environment but going green's gotta mean saving green – and by green, I mean greenbacks. (via Walker Plus, Soylent Green image via The Warehouse)