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 shows that insects have a rich nutrient composition that is comparable with typical livestock.
Conclusion: As realised during COVID-19, insects may prove to be an alternative, sustainable, and cheaper sources of nutrients necessary for ensuring global food security.