Hearing about unexpected things, people used to say, "How do they think up these things? There must be something in the water…."

The Digital Trends web site, among others (see video), reports that a scientist has devised a way to make meat, of a sort, from feces:

Mitsuyuki Ikeda, a researcher from the Okayama Laboratory, has developed steaks based on proteins from human excrement. Tokyo Sewage approached the scientist because of an overabundance of sewage mud. They asked him to explore the possible uses of the sewage and Ikeda found that the mud contained a great deal of protein because of all the bacteria. The researchers then extracted those proteins, combined them with a reaction enhancer and put it in an exploder which created the artificial steak. The "meat" is 63% proteins, 25% carbohydrates, 3% lipids and 9% minerals. The researchers color the poop meat red with food coloring and enhance the flavor with soy protein. Initial tests have people saying it even tastes like beef.

We somewhat eagerly (and somewhat not) await confirmation of this.

The new development follows, in its way, the pioneering work of Mayu Yamamoto of the International Medical Center of Japan, who developed a way to extract vanillin - vanilla fragrance and flavoring - from cow dung. Yamamoto was awarded the 2007 Ig Nobel Prize in chemistry.

(Thanks to investigators Bruce Gellerman and Ron Josephson for bringing this to our attention.)

This post originally appeared on Improbable Research.