Can Edible Insects Complement Conventional Livestock? The Desirability of Insect Nutrition for Food Security of a World Heritage Site and Biosphere Reserve

(E-pub Ahead of Print)

Author(s): Arup Kumar Hazarika*, Subhash Khanna, Unmilan Kalita

Journal Name: Current Nutrition & Food Science

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Background: Insects have formed a part of the human diet since pre-historic times. Entomophagy has garnered recent attention due to its increased role in food security as nutrient-rich alternatives of conventional livestock. Methods: We have made an effort in this paper to study the edible insect composition of Manas National Park, a UNESCO Natural World Heritage Site and Biosphere Reserve, located in the Indo-Burma biodiversity hotspot of Southern Asia. Edible insect variety was determined through a field reconnaissance while the nutrient composition (macronutrient and micronutrient) of each edible insect species was computed through biochemical analyses with a view to explore the possibility of promoting them as food/feed or as a base for nutritive products. We conducted nutrient profiling using the Nutrient Value Score (NVS) model and UK Ofcom nutrient profiling (NP) model. Results: Hymenoptera and Orthoptera were found to be the dominant orders with 4 species each followed by Hemiptera with 3 species, Lepidoptera with 2 species, Mantodea, Blattodea and Coleoptera with 1 species each. The nutrient analysis show that insects have rich nutrient composition that are comparable with typical livestock. Conclusion: Therefore, as realised during COVID-19, insects may prove to be an alternative, sustainable and cheaper sources of nutrients, necessary for ensuring global food security.

Keywords: Edible insects; Food Security; Manas National Park; Nutrient Profiling; Entomology, macronutrient and micronutrient

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(E-pub Ahead of Print)
DOI: 10.2174/1573401316999201102214119

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