A ship-eating worm pest turned into an oyster-flavored superfood

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The ship worm or Terero naval It’s a plague. A kind of wood-eating marine termite, in which he builds his home. Responsible for the destruction of ships, docks and underwater pilings, decanting the history of navigation through its tunnels, putting cities in check, or Royal Navy in the 18th century. Now scientists have just discovered that it is a superfood, and they invite us to eat them.

For this they have first given it a more commercial name: naked clams. And a very nutritious cover letter. They taste like oysters, and their levels of vitamina B12essential for the health of neurons and blood, is higher than that of most bivalves.

Researchers at the University of Cambridge have begun to breed them, adding an algae-based compound to their wood diet, making the worms enriched with omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids. Their results have just been published in the journal Sustainable agriculture.

“Naked clam aquaculture has never been attempted before. We grow them using wood that would otherwise end up in landfills or be recycled. They are high in protein and very nutritious, and can be produced with a very low environmental impact” says Dr David Willer, Henslow Research Fellow in the Department of Zoology at the University of Cambridge and first author of the report.

These worms grow extraordinarily fast, faster than any other bivalve. They reach the 30 centimeters in just six months. The reason is that they do not have a shell, but they do have a small shell at one end that barely grows, which allows them to dedicate all their energy to the growth of the body, unlike mussels or oysters, which can take time. two years to reach a harvestable size.

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