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Biotech Science

Safe "Engineered" Fugu, Sans Gene Manipulation 55

zlel writes "Did anyone figure that you could get clean, poison-free Fugu without genetic engineering? According to this story, a group of researchers at Nagasaki University managed to do just that - they bred Fugu by giving them poison-free feed. They tried to get Japan to modify its ban on the sale of Fugu liver - but authorities felt that this was too big a risk - so in the meantime, you gotta trust your chefs." Anyone willing to translate for the Japanese-impaired?
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Safe "Engineered" Fugu, Sans Gene Manipulation

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  • Babelfish (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 12, 2004 @10:04AM (#9126110)
    Babelfish isn't much of an improvement. . .

    Feeling at rest, you can eat? Nonpoisonous transformation Isao Nagasaki of liver large

    We would like to try eating. Is, but we fear also the poison. The liver of which bothers the gourmet feeling at rest, perhaps it reaches the point where you can eat. The research group of the Nagasaki university, succeeds in the nonpoisonous conversion of the liver of . When it is individual cultivation method, you say that there is no poison everywhere of the bodies, not only the liver. Putting out "taste of withdrawal" to the dining table, when it probably will assure the town causing, it is the schedule where Saga prefecture eases the law system where sale and offer are prohibited " Special Economic District" June, proposes to the country.

    According to the group of ball male honorary professors same university Noguchi, you say that the globefish eats the living thing which has poison such as asteroid and the shellfish which are in the seabed accumulates that poison to internal. Then, when from at the time of the juvenile fish it tries raising with nonpoisonous feed such as agitation and krill, it isn't there is no poison? Cultivation method of the "nonpoisonous globefish" was searched with such a conception.

    As a result, in the position where 10 meters or more it is far from the seabed enclosing with the net, the method of raising with the seawater which purifies being method and the tank which it cultivates was effective.

    The same group individual management law as this cultivation method was used, such as Takashima of Nagasaki prefecture at the point where at the nationwide 7 place from 00 measured the poison 4833 of total in 03, as for poisonous globefish it was not. As for taste you say that it is not different from former cultivation ones.

    The fact that you have an eye on the nonpoisonous globefish the same prefectural Ureshino as Saga prefecture (is delightfully) town. Putting out to the dining table of the hotel of the Ureshino hot spring, "the liver of the hot spring and the globefish" you aim for the town causing in the signboard.

    Sale of the poisonous region of globefish such as liver is regulated with food hygienic method. In order the liver with ease, feeling at rest, to be able to eat, the application of " Special Economic District" it is in the midst of planning with structural reconstruction Special Economic District of the country. Simply, you say that you attach the tag to the nonpoisonous liver, distinguish.

    If as for flood product department Professor the Arakawa learning/repairing Nagasaki of the same group "the cultivation globefish it is not the case that it is nonpoisonous with whichever. We want stopping, absolutely "to eat with amateur judgement, you say.

    Nonpoisonous conversion technology of the story globefish of the public welfare Ministry of Labor food safe section is the enormous result. But, not be able to distinguish with the eye which was seen as the liver of natural ones, it is difficult to rescind the liver of the cultivation globefish widely at present time.

    • by druxton ( 166270 )
      Babelfish isn't much of an improvement. . .

      At least now we know what Yoda does between movie gigs.
    • by !splut ( 512711 )
      According to the group of ball male honorary professors same university Noguchi, you say that the globefish eats the living thing which has poison such as asteroid and the shellfish which are in the seabed accumulates that poison to internal.

      Perhaps NASA should consider employing a fleet of fugu to protect earth from rogue asteroids that accumulate that poison to internal.

      • by RobertB-DC ( 622190 ) * on Wednesday May 12, 2004 @02:22PM (#9129802) Homepage Journal
        Perhaps NASA should consider employing a fleet of fugu to protect earth from rogue asteroids that accumulate that poison to internal.

        In A.D. 2004
        Lunch was beginning

        Chef: What happen?
        Waiter: Somebody set up us the fish.
        Waiter: We get order.
        Chef: What!
        Waiter: Main stove turn on.
        Chef: It's You!!
        Critic: How are you gastronomes!!
        Critic: All your fish are belong to us.
        Critic: You are on the way to destruction.
        Chef: What you say!!
        Critic: You have no chance to survive bring my lunch.
        Critic: Ha Ha Ha Ha ....
        Chef: Take off every "fugu."
        Chef: You know what you doing.
        Chef: Move "fugu".
        Chef: For great taste.

        (Just shoot my Karma now, please)
    • According to the group of ball male honorary professors same university Noguchi, you say that the globefish eats the living thing which has poison such as asteroid and the shellfish which are in the seabed accumulates that poison to internal.

      Poisonous Asteroids [klov.com]?

      What's next? DDR [animefringe.com] with DDT [nrdc.org]?
    • here [asahi.com]
  • FUGU ME! (Score:4, Funny)

    by quonsar ( 61695 ) on Wednesday May 12, 2004 @10:05AM (#9126122) Homepage
    Homer is going to be thrilled.
  • by mcmonkey ( 96054 ) on Wednesday May 12, 2004 @10:08AM (#9126164) Homepage

    Poison...Poison...Tasty fish!
  • *fssssssTHUNK*

    Oops! Dart in your neck!
  • I'm leaving for Tokyo next month, and I'm wondering whether it's worth it to go to one of the blowfish establishments. Is it actually good eating, or does the value lie in telling your friends that you did it?

    I'm not really a sushi gourmand, but I do really like it (just can't tell the bad stuff from the good stuff.) I'm looking in dropping about $90 for a dinner at this place [frommers.com] in Tsukiji, but I just want to know ahead of time if I'm going to be disappointed if I'm going for an amazing culinary experience.

    • Just ask your coroner.

      Anyway I looked at a lot of stories on people eating fugu and all describe it as a once in a lifetime experience. NONE describe it as tasting wonderfull. Or even delicious. Or nice. Or okay. Or like chicken.

      Kinda says it all to me. Many things you have to do once in your life and are a life time experience. Ask your mother about your birth. She will probably say it was a once in a lifetime, something she will never forget. An amazing experience. But not something to repeat and certai

      • I can bet it's a once-in-a-lifetime experience for some people! Eat it once, and they become ill-disposed to continue their 'lifetime' ^_^

        In all seriousness, I hear that some people really love fugu -- probably mostly Japanese and those with a more 'educated' palate (which I'm delighted to say I have no grasp of). For those of us with a palate IQ of 90 or lower, I read one article that said it didn't taste much different from wet cardboard.

        Yum!!! I know I'm gonna risk my life for that...

    • Re:Is it worth it? (Score:2, Interesting)

      by mw2040 ( 756223 )
      I was in Japan in 2001 and stopped in at an off hour (mid-afternoon) to a nice fugu restaurant. Even though it was against their policy, they let us order just a platter of fugu and some beer (normally they required a full meal... I don't know what they liked about us (American tourists are not particularly rare)). Anyway, the point is that there is nothing special about the taste of fugu... pure taste-wise, tuna, salmon, mackerel... just about anything is more interesting. The value lies in saying you did
    • Not really. From a pure cost perspective, it's pretty expensive and, quite honestly, it doesn't have much of a taste. On the other hand, some restaurants serve hot sake with a dried fugu tail in it, and that's both inexpensive and tasty.

    • I suspect it's the daring coolness as opposed to a flavour you can't afford to *not* risk death for.
    • It had all better be good: Fugu licensing is expensive, required highly trained certified chefs,, and a single incident of hospitalization closes the restaurant.

      So if it's open, and has been for years, you've probably got a competent sushi chef.
    • It's nothing special taste-wise. As someone else pointed out Tuna & Salmon sushi taste much better than Fugu does. I got to try it (was with a friend who ate the first bit, figured since he didn't die I was safe to try a piece :) and was surprised at how bland it was considering the danger involved. Personally I won't ever try it again, it's not a taste worth risking your life for.
  • by xutopia ( 469129 ) on Wednesday May 12, 2004 @10:20AM (#9126273) Homepage
    Traces of anhydrotetrodotoxin 4-epitetrodotoxin in the flesh gives people a high. Just like it is more fun to eat a meal with a bottle of wine to intoxicate yourself with the poison in fugu does the same effect.

    I wonder if it would be possible to have a fugu with just very small doses of the poison so that we can eat it, get high and not die. Now that would be cool!

  • Yawn, old news. (Score:5, Informative)

    by eggstasy ( 458692 ) on Wednesday May 12, 2004 @10:21AM (#9126283) Journal
    Anyone who has ever heard of the Fugu fish and bothered to look it up knew that the fish isnt poisonous, but gets its poison from eating some bacteria, much like a lot of other poisonous animals containing tetradotoxin.
    My gf is a food engineer doing a master's on food safety and quality control, all I hear about every day is fugu this and tetradotoxin that.
  • by SmallFurryCreature ( 593017 ) on Wednesday May 12, 2004 @10:23AM (#9126304) Journal
    It sound like the fugu and other puffer fish don't make the poison themselves but take it from their food. They are carnivores and eat shellfish and crabs and stuff like that.

    Taking poision from your food is nothing special. Caterpillars take poison from the leaves they eat and use it to their own defence or rather their species defence. (the caterpillar who gave the bird a stomach upset is dead but the bird will think twice before eating an other caterpillar like it)

    Anyway all they seem to have done is raised some pufu fish on a diet of food with no poison. Hence no poison in the fish. I read on article where someone living near the red sea had noticed the same thing. With the poison depending on where the fish was caught.

    Oh and the reason the goverment is carefull is that their is no way to tell wich fish is without poison and wich isn't.

    From other articles I read it might however be pointless. Part of the taste is the poison so a fugu without poison would just not taste the same. Kind of like alcoholless beer.

    Also eating the fugu in a proper restaurant seems perfectly safe (if expensive) as no deaths have occurered in years. All the deaths related to fugu are because of amateurs preparing the fish.

    Only thing I haven't found is someone describing the taste as nice or wonderfoul or even as okay. They al describe it as a unique experience but then so is sliding of the sadle of your bike. Looks like people just eat it for the risk, not the taste. Anyone here ever eat the fish and can tell me if it is really the taste?

    • "Oh and the reason the goverment is carefull is that their is no way to tell wich fish is without poison and wich isn't"

      There is very easy way. The paralysis is fast: the unfortunate guests tend to freeze right at the table. (The restaurants could display some happy sushi-nibbling rodents at the entrance.)
  • Feeling at rest, you can eat? Nonpoisonous transformation Isao Nagasaki of Fugu liver large

    Fugu which is cultivated inside Nagasaki prefecture

    We would like to try eating. Is, but we fear also the poison. The liver of Fugu which bothers the gourmet feeling at rest, perhaps it reaches the point where you can eat. The research group of the Nagasaki university, succeeds in the nonpoisonous conversion of the liver of Fugu. When it is individual cultivation manner, you say that there is no poison everywhere of
  • The point is that, (Score:4, Interesting)

    by DB_researcher ( 686048 ) on Wednesday May 12, 2004 @11:00AM (#9126643)

    They does not find how to farm poison-free fugu, but make sure demonstlation of it.

    It is known that the poison of Fugu fish, tetradotoxin, is not came from Fugu itself. The poison is came from their feed, some marine bioproducts(Staphyloccus, Bacillus, Micrococcus, Alteromonas, Acinetobacter, etc.).

    There is no doubt that the scientist who found the source of poison of fugu make great work. But, in practical science, making good experiment is as important as theorem. This is the first experiment that proves poison-free fugu can be farmed by practical method.

  • What's the point? (Score:2, Informative)

    by CXI ( 46706 )
    The only reason you eat Fugu is because you could get poisoned, and also due to effects of trace amounts (hopefully!) of the poison. "Safe" Fugu will not have any market value.
    • Re:What's the point? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by b-baggins ( 610215 ) on Wednesday May 12, 2004 @01:58PM (#9129429) Journal
      Exactly. Correctly prepared fugu leaves a trace amount of the toxin present. It's a nerve toxin, so when you eat, it causes a numbness and tingling around the lips and tongue.

      That's the part about the meal that people like.

      The toxin is heat sensitive, so the key is to cook the fish long enough to kill enough toxin so that you get the desired effect without killing yourself.
  • Is this like non-alcoholic beer ?

    Non-fat lard ?

    Non-dairy creamer ?

    Let's all miss the non-point of non-food.
  • by rleibman ( 622895 ) on Wednesday May 12, 2004 @01:07PM (#9128607) Homepage
    I can't believe it's not FUGU.
  • In the spring, if you come a cross a stink bug, just after it has emerged from overwintering, it can't make the stink. I guess it has to eat certain stuff to make the stink compounds and those don't last over winter.

    Now I can see why some people may find an advantage in stinkless stinkbugs. But to me, Fugu without the mouth tingle seems to be a pointless invention like decafinated coffee and non-alcoholic beer.
  • by g_lightyear ( 695241 ) on Wednesday May 12, 2004 @02:37PM (#9130003) Homepage
    Basically, Fugu is a non-poisonous fish; aside from the organs which store and process various poisons, it's fine to eat.

    What happens when you eat it, of course, is pretty normal for such a thing - nothing. It's a bit of an unusual texture, but if you're into sushi enough to want to try fugu in the first place, it's not so unusual as to be unique.

    What IS unusual is the toxin. When taken in large doses (large, for example, being a whole fish, or even a chunk of liver) it's deadly. It doesn't actually take much toxin to kill; however, the trick is to have enough toxin in your fugu to make your lips and tongue just slightly numb. Fugu is a strange experience mostly because you're ingesting small amounts of poison.

    That's why good fugu is so hard to find - what you're *not* looking for is fugu sans all toxin. What's worse yet is that it's very difficult to tell which fish will be incredibly poisonous, and which will not - there are people who have eaten chunks of the liver and had only mild effects; there are others who have eaten a sliver and died.

    What's sure, though, is this: Should you die as a result of eating fugu, the man who prepared it will never work in a fugu restaraunt for the rest of his life.
  • Get-rich-quick (Score:2, Interesting)

    by gardyloo ( 512791 )
    Many of the postings say:
    1) Fugu is expensive because of the risk of death; a hurt customer closes the restaurant and the chef won't work again;
    2) The numbness in one's lips is the only way to tell if it was prepared correctly (with a smidgen of poison).

    Accordingly, I predict the rise of pseudo-fugu franchises, which might actually make a bit of money for a few years:
    i) Set up, serve known-safe fugu with a bit of local anaesthetic injected into the liver, or wherever;
    ii) ...
    iii) P
  • by Wasuremon0 ( 709386 ) on Wednesday May 12, 2004 @07:25PM (#9133883)
    This took me a while, given that I have never studied Fugu and have been getting C's in Japanese as of late, but here is my version of the translation (some things paraphrased of course) based on my knowledge of Japanese grammar. Hope it helps.

    Can you now eat it with peace of mind?

    We want to try eating it. This is true, but we also fear the poison. The liver of Torafugu, which contains an irritant in food, may have reached a point where you can eat it. A research group at Nagasaki University has succeeded in the nonpoisonous conversion of
    the liver of Torafugu. When a method of individually cultivating them is used, there is no poison. This works not just in the liver, but anywhere in the bodies. The town may be reassured, taking the "taste of withdrawal" from the dining table, in June it is proposed that Saga prefecture may allow the sale of Fugu outside of the Special Fugu Econimic District.

    According to a group of honorary professors at the same Noguchi University, the globefish eats living things which have poisons, such as Hitode and the shellfish which are in the seabed, and ingests the poisons from them. Therefore, when the fish are raised since juveniles and fed nonpoisonous feed, such as agitation and krill, shouldn't there be no poison? Cultivation methods of the "nonpoisonous globefish" were researched with this idea in mind.

    As a result, raising the globefish in a position 10 meters or more from the seabed, enclosed with net and using seawater which has been purified in a cultivating tank, was effective.

    Using the same cultivation method as this group, people like Takashima of Nagasaki, in 7 places nationwide from the years 2000 to 2003 have measured the poison of 4,833 globefish and shown them to be nonpoisonous. The taste also shows no difference from those cultivated using former methods.

    Among those who have their eyes on the nonpoisonous globefish are Ureshino and Saga prefectures. The Ureshino Hotspring Hotel aims to serve up "hot springs and globefish liver" and display this on their sign.

    Sale of the poisonous regions of the globefish, such as the liver, is highly regulated to places with a proper hygienic method of serving it. In order to be able to eat the liver with ease (feeling at rest), the application of a "Fugu Special Economic District" it is in the works, with structural reconstruction of the country's Special Economic District. Simply, the nonpoisonous liver will be labeled to distinguish it.

    'Flood Product' department Professor Arakawa Nagasaki of the same group states, "It is not the case that all cultivated globefish is nonpoisonous. I want to absolutely stop people from eating with amateur judgment."

    There have been great results in the technology to convert nonpoisonous globefish.
    However, it is not possible to distinguish with the naked eye which liver comes from natural globefish and it is not possible at this point to widely rescind the liver of the
    cultivated globefish at present time.
  • Finally, I get my 15 minutes of fame in a slashdot story! Sort of...
  • by miquong ( 569138 ) on Thursday May 13, 2004 @01:07AM (#9136194)
    here [asahi.com]
  • It is well known that the poison of fugu is different in season and part. In addition, recent researches shows that fugu fish use their poison, tetrodotoxin, for various purpose, such as immunomechanism, defence mechanism, pheromone.

    Fugu researchers take great interest in what happens to these poison-free fugu. They may show different behavior, or almost same, no one knows what goes on.

  • by Atsi Otani ( 731761 ) on Thursday May 13, 2004 @05:39AM (#9137196)
    Can you really eat it? Nagasaki University succeeds in making pufferfish fugu liver nonpoisonous

    You want to eat it, but you're also afraid of the poison. Well, it looks like you may be able to eat Pufferfish Fugu liver, which has worried gourmets for so long. A research team at Nagasaki University succeeded in making Pufferfish Fugu liver non-poisonous. They report that there isn't any poison in the liver or any other part of the body when the fish are raised with their original method. Saga Prefecture is attempting to bolster the local economy by putting the "forbidden taste" on the dinner table. The prefecture is scheduled to propose a "Special Zone for Fugu" to the national government in June, which will ease the legal restrictions that prohibits selling and providing liver.

    According to the Nagasaki University group, lead by visiting professor Tamao Noguchi, pufferfish eat poisonous things, such as starfish and mollusks on the seafloor, and accumulate poison in their bodies. He began researching a way to raise a "non-poisonous pufferfish," thinking it might be possible to raise a pufferfish without poison if he began to feed them non-poisonous food like mackarel and krill when they were still young.

    As a result he discovered that raising pufferfish in a net over 10 meters from the seafloor and raising pufferfish in a tank with purified water were effective methods.

    From 2000 to 2003, the group measured poison from a total of 4833 pufferfish and found no poisonous ones. These fish were raised with the special method under an original management scheme also devised by the research group in 7 locations throughout Japan, such as Takashima town, Nagasaki Prefecture.

    Saga Prefecture and Ureshino town (located in Saga) are interested in the non-poisonous pufferfish. They aim to bolster the local economy through "hot springs and pufferfish liver" by serving it in the ryokans (traditional Japanese-style hotels) at Ureshino Hot Springs.

    Selling poisonous parts of pufferfish, such as the liver, is restricted within the Food Hygiene Law. The plan is to apply for a "Special Zone for Pufferfish," using the national government's "Special Zones for Structural Reform" initiative, so people can easily and safely eat pufferfish liver. They intend to attach tags on non-poisonous liver for identification.

    Osamu Arakawa, professor of fisheries at Nagasaki University, who is a member of the research group, told us "Not all farmed pufferfish are non-poisonous. Nonprofessionals should never eat pufferfish under their own judgment."

    (A Statement from the Food Hygiene Department, Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare)
    Technology that makes pufferfish non-poisonous is a great advancement. However, it is very difficult to make the liver of farmed pufferfish legal at this point, especially because they cannot be distinguished from natural liver by sight.
    • A Slashdot Japan post notes that it isn't as simple as the article suggests. What prticularly interested me is that there are reports of non-poisonous pufferfish becoming poisonous after being kept in the same tank with natural pufferfish. I guess we aren't going to be eating pufferfish liver until people can assure with certainity that they will be 100% non-poisonous.

      Another interesting fact: It is known that pufferfish ovaries (which are also poisonous) can be made non-poisonous by pickling them in sak

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