Nutritional Composition of Seven Edible Insects

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M. Parameswaran, G. Sharmila Banu


The total increase in demand for meat and the available inadequate land area creates the verdict for alternative protein sources. Edible insects as an alternative protein source for human food and animal feed, which necessitate minimal land utility and have lesser environmental impacts in terms of minimal emission of greenhouse gases, high feed transformation efficacy than the products of meat. Hence, in the present study, we aimed to determine the nutritional composition of seven common edible insects, viz., bamboo worms, crickets, houseflies, locusts, mealworms, silkworms, weaver ants available near the location. Most of these species are comprised of high proximate composition, fatty acids, amino acids, minerals, and vitamins. A total of 19 amino acids (10 essential, and 9 non-essential), and 13 fatty acids (4 SFA, 3 MUFA, and 9 PUFA) were determined. Most of the essential amino acids fulfilled the protein level recommended by FAO and WHO. The nutritional analysis for seven insects, where protein and carbohydrates level is high in Crickets (77.47% and 30.28%), whereas fiber, nitrogen free extract and ash is high in weaver ants (15.38%, 11.15% and 6.55%), Fat and energy level is high in mealworms (43.08% and 577.44cal/100g). In Crickets more number of amino acids are present in Met +cys (56mg/g), Tyr (69mg/g), Phe + Tyr (100.12 mg/g), Thr (36 mg/g), Val (65 mg/g), Ser (45 mg/g), Pro (65 mg/g) and Gly (71 mg/g). Fatty acids is high in House fly myristic acid (6.83%), Palmitic acid (5.92%) and Eicosapentaenoic acid (17.26%), Silk worm MUSFA (1.68%), γ-linolenic acid (10.36%) and Dihomo-γ-linolenic acid (40.24%). In minerals Bamboo worms (Sodium – 542.35mg and Iron – 15.20mg), Silk worm (Potassium – 1378.98mg and copper- 3.56mg) and Weaver Ants (Magnesium – 256.89mg and Phosphorous – 1269.25mg). Vitamins is high in Crickets (Vitamin A – 48.16µg and Riboflavin – 8.9) and Locusts (Niacin – 9.4 and Folic acid – 0.8). Based on the findings, we suggest that efficient insect farming can be a sustainable alternative scheme to animal food with lower environmental impacts.

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