Chinese dust cloud 'improves smelly Japanese dish'

September 4, 2012
Picture of soybeans taken in Argentina in 2008. Natto, the Japanese breakfast dish of fermented soybeans, has a smell likened to sweaty feet but researchers have come up with an unlikely way of making it less whiffy—using bacteria from Chinese dust clouds.

Natto, the Japanese breakfast dish of fermented soybeans, has a smell likened to sweaty feet but researchers have come up with an unlikely way of making it less whiffy—using bacteria from Chinese dust clouds.

found in the yellow fug that drifts over from China are almost identical to the reagent usually added to the beans to start the , said Teruya Maki, an assistant professor at Kanazawa University.

The end result, labelled "Sky Natto", tastes like normal natto but doesn't have the overpowering smell that puts off so many first timers and divides Japan into those who love the protein-rich dish and those who hate it.

"We spotted this bacteria which is the same as that used for making natto," said Maki, who was studying the organisms in the Chinese dust cloud for their potential risks to human health.

After a test batch, Maki and his team persuaded a local natto manufacturer to adopt the recipe and produce Sky Natto for sale at the university, with an eye on cracking the local market.

Sky Natto has a much less overwhelming smell than regular natto and has greater nutritional value because it contains more magnesium and calcium, he said.

Clouds of travel from during Spring when winds whip up sand and transport it thousands of miles (kilometres), sometimes shrouding parts of Japan and the .

Natto, while not widely known outside Japan, can be found in health food shops in the West.

Explore further: Soy found protective against localized prostate cancer

Related Stories

Soy found protective against localized prostate cancer

March 15, 2007

The largest study examining the relationship between the traditional soy-rich Japanese diet and development of prostate cancer in Japanese men has come to a seemingly contradictory conclusion: intake of isoflavone chemicals, ...

S.Korea issues warning against 'yellow dust'

December 25, 2009

South Korea's weather service Friday issued a warning against airborne pollution known as "yellow dust", advising residents in western areas to avoid outdoor activities.

Recommended for you

Genomes uncover life's early history

August 24, 2015

A University of Manchester scientist is part of a team which has carried out one of the biggest ever analyses of genomes on life of all forms.

Rare nautilus sighted for the first time in three decades

August 25, 2015

In early August, biologist Peter Ward returned from the South Pacific with news that he encountered an old friend, one he hadn't seen in over three decades. The University of Washington professor had seen what he considers ...

Why a mutant rice called Big Grain1 yields such big grains

August 24, 2015

(Phys.org)—Rice is one of the most important staple crops grown by humans—very possibly the most important in history. With 4.3 billion inhabitants, Asia is home to 60 percent of the world's population, so it's unsurprising ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.