Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

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Bug Bites

Improving methods to farm and process insects as a human food source for the sake of global food security

26 July 2019

Bug Bites

For some, eating insects or entomophagy is a dare, for others – around two billion people worldwide – it’s a way of life. Insects like these being fried and sold at a market stall in Bangkok are more than just a novelty snack. Grasshoppers, locusts, crickets, even caterpillars and dragonflies offer a sustainable source of protein they may be the key to solving a worldwide food shortage. First though, a couple of challenges – new technologies must be developed to process vast swarms of bugs – extracting valuable nutrients at a massive scale, while education programmes will hopefully break down a stigma or two. New methods to farm and process the insects aim to boost their use in mainstream cooking ingredients like flour, while the protein chitin, extracted from certain insect exoskeletons, has a surprising list of uses from food preservation to surgical thread.

Written by John Ankers

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