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Food & Beverage

Ramen chain goes green with pond microbe noodles

Kourakuen partners with bioventure Euglena for dish with health appeal

Green noodles made with euglena, a microbe found in pond water, will be served at ramen chain Kourakuen. (Photo by Yuta Sugiura) 

TOKYO -- A Japanese ramen restaurant operator will offer noodles made with euglena, single-celled organisms that turn pond water green, billing them as a health food.

The cold dipping noodles were developed in cooperation with Tokyo-based bioventure Euglena, which also has cosmetics and biofuel businesses based on the microbe.

The green noodles will be available at Kourakuen ramen shops across Japan from Tuesday to Sept. 1 for 850 yen ($8).

"It's perfect for getting nutrients in the summer," Euglena President Mitsuru Izumo said.

Euglena contain chlorophyll, enabling them to produce their own energy like green algae, but they can also feed like animals. 

The noodles, dubbed midorimen, are made with euglena grown on the Okinawan island of Ishigaki. They contain more iron and vitamin B1 than regular noodles, according to Euglena.

Midori means "green" in Japanese and gives rise to the microbe's Japanese name, midorimushi.

The dish is the first initiative in a partnership focused on health and the environment.

Noboru Niida, president of the chain's parent company Kourakuen Holdings, said the company "aims to become a sustainable restaurant business through the partnership with Euglena."

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