Japanese food ingredients company Kimica Corp claims it has come up with a seaweed additive that promises a perfect airy loaf of bread without the need for high-performance ovens.

A leading manufacturer of alginate, the Tokyo-based firm says its new hydro-colloid, derived from sea algae, acts as a thickening and stabilising agent that when added to wheat flour helps the loaf retain moisture when baked. The company says the new alginate agent, a polysaccharide extracted from seaweed, reacts with the starch in the wheat flour resulting in a springier, lighter loaf.

Alginates are extracted from brown algae, which are in abundant supply in the oceans.

Kimica expects to sell two tons of the ingredient in the first year.