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Edible insects as a source of alternative protein. A review

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The current state and research priorities in the field of using insects as foods and their components are examined. At present, entomophagy is practiced in Africa, South America and Asia. It is shown that the growing world population, which is increasingly limited in resources upon the rising demand for animal protein, has stimulated the interest to new food sources that can include insects as future alternative sources of animal protein. In the forming global model based on the growing share of renewable energy sources, entomophagy fits in as a renewable source of food energy. Over the last decade, the potential of edible insects as a new ingredient has been studied. It is noted that edible insects can be produced with less environmental impact compared to cattle. Insects have a huge potential at all life cycle stages as a source of nutritional and active substances and are a rich source of animal protein, contain essential amino acids, minerals (K, Na, Ca, Cu, Fe, Zn, Mn and P), vitamins (В-group, А, D, Е, К and С) and unsaturated fatty acids. Assimilability of insect protein is 76–98%. Insect carbohydrates are represented mainly by chitin contained in a range from 2.7 mg to 49.8 mg/kg of fresh matter. There are data that different insect species can have immune stimulating, sugar reducing, antioxidant and anti-genotoxic activities, as well as the positive effect in cardiovascular and nervous disorders. In the western countries, different methods of insect processing were developed. The review summarizes advantages and risks of eating insects and legal practices of their consumption. Possible ways and strategies of stimulating edible insect consumption are analyzed taking into account that the majority of population in western countries reject the idea of eating insects. The review of performed studies notes the necessity to eliminate emotional and psychological barriers on the way of accepting edible insect consumption.

About the Authors

N. A. Gorbunova
V. M. Gorbatov Federal Research Center for Food Systems of Russian Academy of Sciences
Russian Federation

Nataliya A. Gorbunova — candidate of technical sciences, Scientific secretary

 109316, Moscow, Talalikhina str., 26. Tel.: +7–495–676–93–17

A. N. Zakharov
V. M. Gorbatov Federal Research Center for Food Systems of Russian Academy of Sciences
Russian Federation

Alexander N. Zakharov — candidate of technical sciences, Head of Department editorial and publishing

109316, Moscow, Talalikhina str., 26. Tel.: +7–495–676–93–51


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For citations:

Gorbunova N.A., Zakharov A.N. Edible insects as a source of alternative protein. A review. Theory and practice of meat processing. 2021;6(1):23-32.

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