When life gives you jellyfish, make jellyfish lemonade

Or cookies.  Or tofu.

At least, that’s the approach that a few intrepid Japanese entrepreneurs are using to take advantage of the ballooning population of jellyfish. Rapidly becoming known as the “cockroaches of the sea” for their ability to flourish in a variety of environments, these creatures have seen* their numbers explode, thanks to warming oceans and a decline in natural predators.

The biggest innovators are the students at the coincidentally-named Obama Fisheries High School in the Fukui prefecture of Japan, who have been working in partnership with a local company to develop potential new uses for the invaders.

Delightfully sting-free.

Delightfully sting-free.

Over the last several years, these students have devised ways to incorporate jellyfish into everything — from a baking powder-like substance to be added in cakes and cookies, to fruit punch.  (We don’t doubt the other Obama’s many talents, but we’d like to see him whip up a tray of jellyfish snickerdoodles.

Another entrepreneur, Kaneo Fukuda, who goes by “Jellyfish Fukuda,” says has created over twenty different tentacle-based products, including cocktails and makeup.   Still more promising is a recent discovery of jellyfish as a potential source of mucin, a protein substance that has potential to work in a variety of processed foods.

*This is purely figurative, as jellyfish do not have eyes.  They do have light-detecting structures called rhopalia, but you cannot gaze meaningfully into them.

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