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What is Euglena?

The Japanese name of Euglena is "Midorimushi"

Euglena is a small organism of about 0.05 mm in length and thus cannot be clearly observed without a microscope. The Japanese name of Euglena is “Midorimushi”. Although “Midorimushi” literally means green insects, Euglena is not an insect but a member of algae, just like brown seaweed and sea tangle.
Euglena has chloroplasts in the cell, enabling it to perform photosynthesis and produce sugars like plants. Moreover, Euglena can move like an animal by changing its cell shape. An organism like this, with both plant- and animal-like characteristics, is quite unique.

Euglena contains 59 nutritional elements.

Euglena combines features of both plants and animals, and thus it naturally contains various nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and unsaturated fatty acids.

Vitamins
α-carotene, β-carotene, vitamins B1, B2, B6, B12, C, D, E and K1, niacin, pantothenic acid, biotin, folic acid
Unsaturated fatty acids
DHA, EPA, palmitoleic acid, oleic acid, linolenic acid, eicosadienoic acid, arachidonic acid, docosatetraenoic acid, docosapentaenoic acid, dihomo-γ-linolenic acid
Amino acids
Valine, leucine, isoleucine, alanine, arginine, lysine, aspartic acid, glutamic acid, proline, threonine, methionine, phenylalanine, histidine, tyrosine, tryptophan, glycine, serine, cystine
Minerals
Manganese, copper, iron, zinc, calcium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, sodium
Others
Paramylon, chlorophyll, lutein, zeaxanthin, GABA, spermidine, putrescineAnalyzed by Japan Food Research Laboratories

Since Euglena has characteristics of both plants and animals,
it produces not only vitamin C and folic acid, which are typically found in plants, but also DHA, EPA, and vitamin B1, which are typically found in animals.

Notably, Euglena produces a unique substance, called “paramylon”.

Paramylon, a crystal form of β-1,3-glucan, is a storage polysaccharide specific to Euglena and its related species.
Paramylon is neither digested nor absorbed in the human body; it is believed to act like a dietary fiber.

撮影:青山学院大学 福岡伸一教授

Euglena research reports

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