Researchers find high-protein algae that tastes like bacon

Few meats are as tasty as bacon, but you, like many others, may have cut back on it for health and environmental reasons. That makes a recent discovery by Oregon State University researchers all the more exciting: a new so-called "super food" algae that tastes like bacon. OSU detailed the discovery on Tuesday, likening it to discovering a unicorn — a "new strain of succulent red marine algae" that is fast-growing, high in protein and nutrients, and — upon being cooked — blessed with a flavor like bacon.

The red algae is called dulse, and it is a new strain that was created and patented by OSU's Chris Langdon and colleagues at the university's Hatfield Marine Science Center. He has been growing the strain for the last 15 years, according to the university, which describes the seaweed as being like "a translucent red lettuce".

Dulse algae is found growing in the wild in the Pacific and Atlantic along the coastlines. The wild form of it isn't uncommon — it tends to be sold in dried form for cooking and nutritional reasons. This new strain is different, however. It features up to 16-percent protein and is said to be rich with antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins.

The project was originally intended as a way to feed abalone, but shifted into a project for feeding humans. After a lot of work, the algae is now being tested by chefs in the Portland area, and researchers are looking into whether it is feasible to grow dulse for human consumption as a fresh food product.

SOURCE: Oregon State University