“OM NOM NOM NOM”
By Cal Widdall
Leaving China and blaming the air pollution is sooo hot right now, but in Japan it seems they can’t get enough of the filthy Chinese air. Peckish scientists have discovered that microscopic organisms contained in the dust clouds blown over from China can be used to improve natto, a traditional fermented soyfood known for its potent smell (in other words, Japan’s very own stinky tofu).
Teruya Maki, an assistant professor at Kanazawa University, was originally studying the airborne organisms in order to measure their potential danger to human health when an issue of greater scientific importance arose – tasty food. The discovery, which probably occurred around lunchtime, revealed the organisms to be similar to those found in Natto. Using the airborne filth he was supposed to be testing for health risks, Maki was able to create what he claims to be a less pungent and more nutritious version of the food, dubbed ‘sky natto.’
We’ve all been there, you go shopping when you’re hungry and, with eyes bigger than your stomach, you end up with a dozen bags of food you don’t actually need. Apparently it happens to scientists too – one minute you’re testing air polution for health hazards, then the next you’re ‘investigating’ how it tastes on a sandwich.
In natto – a food so foul even adding dirt is an improvement – stinky tofu may have finally met its match.