Posted on 1 July 2019 by Makhosi Mahlangu

Consumption of edible insects as alternative animal protein-source is a potential long-term solution to curb protein deficiency in resource-limited communities where diets lacking in protein are predominant. Entomophagy has been expressed in both developed and developing countries, and previous studies have proven that edible insects are high
in protein. However, there is a paucity of information on protein quality of edible insects to adequately guide populations on their utilization as good alternative protein sources.


The aim of this study was to evaluate the protein quality of three edible insects commonly
consumed in most regions of Zimbabwe, namely Imbrasia Belina (mopane worms),
Locusta migratoria (locust) and Encosternum delegorguei (stinkbug). The kjeldahl method
was used to evaluate crude protein of edible insects and a 20-day mice-feeding trial was
conducted to evaluate protein efficiency ratio and protein digestibility in comparison to
a control protein (casein). Crude protein was higher in Locusta migratoria (71.2%)
compared to Imbrasia belina (57.7%) and Encosternum delegorguei (31.3%). Protein
efficiency ratio was lower in insect samples L. migratoria (2.3), I Belina (1.96), E.
delegorguei (2.0) compared to control casein (2.5). There was a significant difference
(p<0.05) in protein efficiency ratio between the three edible insects and casein. Protein
digestibility of the three insects (I. belina-92%, L. migratoria-90%, E. delegorguei-92%)
was high and comparable to that of casein (96%). There was no significant difference
(p>0.05) in protein digestibility between the three insect protein sources and casein.


The results showed high protein quality of three edible insects commonly consumed in
Zimbabwe is comparable to casein, a high-quality animal protein. High protein digestibility
of edible insects indicated ease in absorption and improved utilization in the body. The
lower PER values for I. Belina and E. delegorguei could possibly indicate that these
edible insects may be limiting in the amino acids that support body tissue building and
growth. Edible insects are a good source of quality protein that could meet protein
requirements in resource-limited populations to curb protein deficiency. There is a strong
need to further promote edible insects as a good alternative animal protein source.

The article is from a research article by Dexter Chagwena and the whole article can be found from the following link: