Edible insects can help solve hunger and improve nutrition in Sumatra: Study

By Gary Scattergood

- Last updated on GMT

Edible species bred in Sumatra could become a food source. ©iStock
Edible species bred in Sumatra could become a food source. ©iStock

Related tags Nutrition Fatty acid

Edible insects from Sumatra can provide a strategic solution for hunger problems and subsequent undernourishment due to their high essential fatty contents, researchers have concluded.

Academics say inhabitants of the Indonesian island are faced with insufficient food supplies, and that edible insects as a traditional and readily available food source could be part of the solution.

“Throughout Indonesia, 20 million people suffer from undernourishment, which is approximately 8% of the Indonesian population,”​ they wrote, adding that “one in every five children suffers from malnutrition and one in every three children suffers from stunting. However, edible insects bred in Sumatra for human consumption have never before been assessed with regard to their nutritional value.

Oleic acid

Their study analysed the crude protein, chitin, fat and selected fatty acid contents of giant mealworm larvae (Zophobas morio​), larvae of the common mealworm (Tenebrio molitor)​ and nymphs of the field cricket (Gryllus assimilis​).

Crude protein content in the samples ranged from 46% to 56%. The highest (35%) and lowest (31%) amounts of fat were recorded in giant mealworm larvae and larvae of the common mealworm, respectively. Chitin amounts ranged from 6% to 13%.

In terms of essential fatty acids, oleic acid was found to be predominant in the oil of giant mealworm larvae, common mealworm larvae, and pupae, while linoleic acid was the most abundant in the oil of field cricket nymph.

For chitin content, there was a statistically significant and higher difference between the common mealworm and the other species.

Chitin is considered an indigestible fibre that provides considerable protective effects on human health.

“Based on these values, which are comparable to those known from other food insects reared in different regions of the world, the edible species bred in Sumatra could become food sources with a potential to help stave off hunger and undernourishment,”​ added the researchers.


Source: Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health​ 


“Nutritional Potential of Selected Insect Species Reared on the Island of Sumatra”

Authors: Anna Adámková, et al.


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