ArticlePDF AvailableLiterature Review

Potential of Insects as Food and Feed in Assuring Food Security



With a growing world population and increasingly demanding consumers, the production of sufficient protein from livestock, poultry, and fish represents a serious challenge for the future. Approximately 1,900 insect species are eaten worldwide, mainly in developing countries. They constitute quality food and feed, have high feed conversion ratios, and emit low levels of greenhouse gases. Some insect species can be grown on organic side streams, reducing environmental contamination and transforming waste into high-protein feed that can replace increasingly more expensive compound feed ingredients, such as fish meal. This requires the development of costeffective, automated mass-rearing facilities that provide a reliable, stable, and safe product. In the tropics, sustainable harvesting needs to be assured and rearing practices promoted, and in general, the food resource needs to be revalorized. In the Western world, consumer acceptability will relate to pricing, perceived environmental benefits, and the development of tasty insect-derived protein products. Expected final online publication date for the Annual Review of Entomology Volume 58 is December 03, 2013. Please see for revised estimates.
EN58CH28-vanHuis ARI 28 November 2012 16:17
Potential of Insects as Food and
Feed in Assuring Food Security
Arnold van Huis
Laboratory of Entomology, Wageningen University, Wageningen 6700 EH, The Netherlands;
Annu. Rev. Entomol. 2013. 58:563–83
First published online as a Review in Advance on
September 27, 2012
The Annual Review of Entomology is online at
This article’s doi:
Copyright c
2013 by Annual Reviews.
All rights reserved
feed conversion ratio, entomophagy, nutrition, mini-livestock,
bioconversion, mass rearing
With a growing world population and increasingly demanding consumers,
the production of sufficient protein from livestock, poultry, and fish repre-
sents a serious challenge for the future. Approximately 1,900 insect species
are eaten worldwide, mainly in developing countries. They constitute qual-
ity food and feed, have high feed conversion ratios, and emit low levels
of greenhouse gases. Some insect species can be grown on organic side
streams, reducing environmental contamination and transforming waste into
high-protein feed that can replace increasingly more expensive compound
feed ingredients, such as fish meal. This requires the development of cost-
effective, automated mass-rearing facilities that provide a reliable, stable,
and safe product. In the tropics, sustainable harvesting needs to be assured
and rearing practices promoted, and in general, the food resource needs
to be revalorized. In the Western world, consumer acceptability will relate
to pricing, perceived environmental benefits, and the development of tasty
insect-derived protein products.
Annu. Rev. Entomol. 2013.58:563-583. Downloaded from
by on 01/15/13. For personal use only.
EN58CH28-vanHuis ARI 28 November 2012 16:17
human consumption
of insects
ability to maintain
productivity without
compromising the
needs of future
Food security: “exists
when all people, at all
times, have physical
and economic access
to sufficient, safe and
nutritious food that
meets their dietary
needs and food
preferences for an
active and healthy life”
(1996 World Food
Summit Plan of
Action, nr. 1)
Insects form part of the human diet in many tropical countries (16, 36). Yet, entomophagy is
often not promoted by national governments, and the focus is on Westernized dietary patterns
as the standard to be emulated (40, 152). In Western countries, human consumption of insects
is infrequent or even culturally inappropriate, resulting in its rarely being discussed as part of
the sustainability and food security agendas of international organizations and donor agencies
( Entomophagy is often considered as
a peculiar habit practiced by “primitive man” (16) in tropical countries. Bodenheimer (16), in
his 1951 book Insects as Human Food: A Chapter of the Ecology of Man, showed that it is more
than a mere curiosity, and he lists an impressive number of examples of entomophagy being
practiced all over the world. Even earlier, in 1921, Bequaert (15) presented an overview of en-
tomophagy but clearly indicated that it was not his intention to furnish arguments to include
insects in the Western diet. However, the rapidly growing world population and depletion of
our resources require rethinking of our food patterns and habits, particularly those relating to
meat consumption. This review explores whether it is timely and appropriate to start considering
insects as sustainable and viable food and feed resources that can contribute to assuring global
food security.
Detailed ethnoentomological research has been conducted on entomophagy practiced by spe-
cific tribes on certain insect orders, e.g., the studies by Silow in Zambia (131, 132). Thanks to
G.R. DeFoliart, who was the editor of the Food Insects Newsletter in the 1990s (37) and who
wrote an online bibliography (36), awareness in the Western world was created as he outlined
the benefits of insects as human food (40) and animal feed (38). A number of review arti-
cles on entomophagy have subsequently appeared, either focusing on a particular part of the
world, such as Africa (144), Australia (29), Latin America (123), and Southeast Asia (154), or
discussing a certain topic, such as biodiversity (41) or nutrition (23). Efforts are being made
to list all species of arthropods eaten worldwide, and the number now stands at approximately
1,900 ( Since 2010,
the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations has been assessing the po-
tential of insects as food and feed for assuring food security (
edibleinsects/74848/en/). What are the forces driving us to consider insects as food and feed
Rising incomes and rapid urbanization in developing countries, particularly in Asia, are creating
shifts in the composition of global food demand (97). Wealth is a major determinant in the increase
in global meat consumption (141). Per capita meat consumption in high-income countries is
expected to increase by 9% in 2030 (from 86 kg capita1year1in 2000), whereas for China an
increase of almost 50% is expected (from 49 kg capita1year1in 2000); this will also increase the
demand for coarse grain as feed for livestock, namely 48% and 158%, respectively (97). Demands
for grain and protein-rich feeds are closely related to meat consumption (143): For every kilogram
of high-quality animal protein produced, livestock are fed approximately 6 kg of plant protein (118).
The increase in world prices for the most important agricultural crops will lead to an increase in
prices for beef, pork, and poultry of more than 30% by 2050 compared with 2000 (102). The same
study indicates that the situation may be aggravated by climate change, causing prices to increase
by an additional 18–21%. Food scarcity may become even more serious when taking into account
rising demand for biofuels and decreased agricultural productivity: Productivity of land and labor
564 van Huis
Annu. Rev. Entomol. 2013.58:563-583. Downloaded from
by on 01/15/13. For personal use only.
EN58CH28-vanHuis ARI 28 November 2012 16:17
domesticated, small
animals, including
arthropods, reared as
food and feed
Greenhouse gas
(GHG): gas that
absorbs and emits
radiation within the
thermal infrared range
Life cycle
assessment of
environmental impacts
associated with all
stages of a product’s
Feed conversion
ratio (FCR):
measure of an animal’s
efficiency to convert
feed mass into
increased body mass
feed:kilogram weight
grew at a substantially slower rate from 1990 to 2005 than from 1961 to 1990 (9). The increase
in food and feed prices in the future will prompt the search for alternative protein sources, e.g.,
cultured meat (53), seaweed (59), vegetables and fungi (12), and mini-livestock (115).
Greenhouse Gas and Ammonia Emissions
Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from livestock production (including transport of livestock and
feed) account for approximately 18% of global human-induced emissions (137). Methane (CH4)
is produced by enteric fermentation (31% of global emissions) and released from manure (6%);
N2O is released mainly from feed crop fertilizer and manure (65%). A review of the literature in-
dicates that 1 kg of beef has the highest environmental impact when measured in CO2equivalents
(14.8 kg), followed by pork (3.8 kg), and chicken (1.1 kg) (54). Concerning the global anthro-
pogenic atmospheric ammonia emissions, responsible for eutrophication of surface waters and
acidification of soils, almost all is emitted by the agricultural sector, of which almost two-thirds is
by livestock (137). Insects can also produce GHG and ammonia. Methanogenic bacteria occur in
the hindguts of tropical species of cockroaches (Blaberidae and Blattinae), termites (Isoptera), and
scarab beetles (Scarabidae) (62). However, most commercially reared edible insect species such as
the yellow mealworm (Tenebrio molitor), the house cricket (Acheta domesticus), and the migratory
locust (Locusta migratoria) compare more favorably than conventional livestock, not only in terms
of direct emissions of GHG but also in terms of ammonia production (113). However, a life cycle
assessment of an edible insect species product should still be conducted and compared with that
of conventional meat.
Feed Conversion Ratio
Feed conversion ratios (FCRs) are particularly important, as an increased demand for meat will
cause a more than proportional demand for grain and high-protein feeds. FCRs vary widely
depending on the class of animal and the production practices used to produce the meat. However,
a very rough calculation from average figures can be made. From long-term statistics for the United
States, the following FCRs were given: 2.5 for chicken, 5 for pork, and 10 for beef (134). There
are few studies on FCRs for edible insects. Different FCR values are given for Acheta domesticus:
0.9–1.1 depending on the diet composition (101) and 1.7 for fresh weight (31). The difference is
probably due to longer feeding and later harvesting in the second study (21 days versus 45 days).
The proportion of edible weight differs considerably between conventional livestock and insects.
The percentage of edible weight for chicken (58) and pork (both 55% of liveweight) is higher than
that for beef (40%) (135). Crickets in the last nymphal stage can be eaten whole, but when eaten
as a snack, some prefer that legs (17% of total weight) be removed, and because the chitinous
exoskeleton (3%) is indigestible, the percentage edible weight amounts to 80% (101). Using
the aforementioned figures, the FCR of edible weight can be calculated, showing crickets to be
twice as efficient as chickens, 4 times more efficient than pigs and 12 times more than cattle
(Table 1). These calculations can also be made for protein efficiency. That would be helpful if
the protein content was very different for livestock and crickets, but it is not: Poultry, pork, and
beef show values of 200, 150, and 190 g protein per kilogram edible weight, respectively (58),
whereas for cricket nymphs and adults, these figures are 154 and 205 g, respectively (55). It is
most likely that crickets convert feed more efficiently to body mass than do conventional livestock
because insects are poikilothermic and their growth stages do not invest metabolic energy in Insects as Food/Feed to Assure Food Security 565
Annu. Rev. Entomol. 2013.58:563-583. Downloaded from
by on 01/15/13. For personal use only.
EN58CH28-vanHuis ARI 28 November 2012 16:17
Table 1 Efficiencies of production of conventional meat and crickets
Cricket Poultry (135) Pork (135) Beef (135)
Feed conversion ratio (kilogram feed:kilogram
1.7 (31)2.5 510
Edible portion (%) 80 (101)55 55 40
Feed (kilogram:kilogram edible weight) 2.1 4.5 9.1 25
Virtual water: water
used to produce a
Organic side stream:
all flows of organic
waste from
agriculture, and the
food manufacturing
industry to final
maintaining a constant body temperature above ambient values. Other insect species are therefore
likely to show similar efficiencies.
High-density animal production operations can also increase the incidence of livestock disease,
and the emergence of new, often antibiotic-resistant pathogens. Infectious diseases of livestock
cost the global community billions of euros every year, e.g., avian influenza (H5N1), foot-and-
mouth disease, bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), and classical swine fever (74). Meat
consumption in high-income countries has also been associated with human health problems such
as BSE (74) and cardiovascular disease and cancer (114). Zoonotic infections are increasing and
pose significant threats to human health, such as the new influenza A (H1N1), which is closely
related to the swine influenza A (142). Because insects are taxonomically much more distant from
humans than are conventional livestock, such risks are expected to be very low.
Water Use
The international virtual water flows related to trade in livestock and livestock products are quite
significant (nearly half of the volume of virtual water flows relates to feed crops) (28). This is
because the virtual water content of livestock products is very high compared with that of cereal
crops, in particular, that of beef at 22,000 liters kg1produced (28); other publications even
mention 43,000 liters, mainly because of indirect water inputs such as forage and grain feed crops
(117). In China the larger amount of meat in diets has already caused water scarcity in the period
1961 to 2003 (84). The figures for some reared edible insect species are expected to be much
lower, considering that, for example, the yellow mealworm and the lesser mealworm (Alphitobius
diaperinus) are drought resistant, can be reared on organic side streams (122), and have efficient
FCRs. However, studies confirming this still need to be performed.
Can organic side streams be used as feed for insects to contribute to the sustainable management
of biowaste while at the same time creating a high-protein product? Globally, one-third of all food
produced is wasted, amounting to 1.3 billion tons per year (61) and, in particular, to methane as a
contributor to anthropogenic GHG emissions (17). In developing countries waste collection and
inadequate treatment of waste is an increasing problem, and often one- to two-thirds of waste is
not collected (44). One policy is to reduce organic waste disposal, but another possibility is its
valorization. Conversion of organic refuse into compost by saprophages such as earthworms and
microorganisms is a well-known procedure (128). However, a number of insects, e.g., larvae of
566 van Huis
Annu. Rev. Entomol. 2013.58:563-583. Downloaded from
by on 01/15/13. For personal use only.
EN58CH28-vanHuis ARI 28 November 2012 16:17
Compound feed:
feedstuffs blended
from various raw
materials and additives
and formulated
according to the
specific requirements
of an animal species
the black soldier fly (BSF) (Hermetia illucens), the common house fly (Musca domestica) (47, 109),
and certain mealworm species (42), can also be used for this purpose.
BSF is an especially interesting candidate for converting organic refuse (44). It can convert
dairy, poultry, and swine manure to body mass, reducing dry matter mass by up to 58% (130)
and associated nutrients such as P and N by 61–70% and 30–50%, respectively (100). The larvae
also reduce Escherichia coli counts (86) in dairy manure and Salmonella enterica serovar enteritidis
in chicken manure (49). Problematic house fly populations are also decreased in chicken manure
(20, 129). BSF larvae can also reduce and recycle fish offal from processing plants (136). BSF
larvae grown on 1 kg of cattle, swine, and poultry manure have a high fat content that allows the
production of 36, 58, and 91 g of biodiesel, respectively (83). House fly larvae have been grown
on municipal organic waste (109) and the yellow mealworm on dried and cooked waste materials
from fruits, vegetables, and cereals in various combinations (122). Wastewater sludges have also
been used to mass-rear the codling moth, Cydia pomonella, for the production of granulovirus for
biocontrol (21).
Most of the experiments have been done on a laboratory scale. Developing and standardizing
mass-rearing techniques on an industrial scale could become a new economic sector. However,
there are still a number of challenges, both biotic and abiotic, that need to be addressed, e.g.,
rearing, automation, and safety issues related to pathogens, heavy metals, and organic pollutants.
Insects can be used as a replacement for fish meal and fish oil in animal diets. Global industrial
feed production in 2011 was estimated at 870 million tons, worth approximately US$350 billion
( Meal and oil from both fish and soybean are used for compound aquafeed
and animal feed. Fish meal and fish oil were derived from 20.8 million tons (19%) of the global
fish production of 145 million tons in 2008 (50). This concerned mainly small, pelagic forage fish
(139). The worldwide production of fish meal and fish oil in 2006 was 5.46 and 0.95 million tons,
respectively [processing yields of 22.5% and 5%, of which 68% and 89% were used in aquaculture,
respectively (139)]. Aquaculture has grown from providing 4% of global fish supplies by weight
in 1970 to 38% in 2008 (50), and production is estimated to grow at more than 8% a year. Not
only this growth but also marine overexploitation, from 10% of stocks in 1974 to 32% in 2008
(50), increases the costs of producing fish oil and fish meal (43, 139). Prices of soybean and soy
oil have also increased due to a rapid expansion in demand (particularly in China) caused by a
growing world population, whereas growth in production has slowed (143). With world prices of
feed ingredients increasing, the industry is looking for alternative protein sources. There is much
interest in possible replacements for these expensive ingredients (51). The most promising insect
species for industrial production are BSF, the common house fly, the yellow mealworm, the lesser
mealworm, silkworm (Bombyx mori ), and several grasshopper species (see 10).
BSF larvae convert manure to body mass containing 42% protein and 35% fat (130), which
makes them a suitable source of feed for both livestock (103) and fish (19). When fish offal was
included in their diet, their lipid content increased, including omega-3 fatty acids, making BSF
larvae a suitable replacement for fish meal/oil in fish and livestock diets (136). Substituting 50%
of the fish meal by fish offal–enriched BSF allowed growth of rainbow trout similar to that of a
fish meal–based control diet (127).
House fly maggots have also been proposed as poultry feed in both Western (155) and tropical
countries (13, 66, 140). They can convert poultry manure and at the same time produce pupae as
a high-protein (61%) feed with a well-balanced composition of the amino acids arginine, lysine,
and methionine (47). Diets containing 10–15% maggots (which appear during biodegradation Insects as Food/Feed to Assure Food Security 567
Annu. Rev. Entomol. 2013.58:563-583. Downloaded from
by on 01/15/13. For personal use only.
EN58CH28-vanHuis ARI 28 November 2012 16:17
of chicken droppings using house flies) improved carcass quality and growth performance of
broiler chickens (66). Furthermore, dehydrated fly larvae compared favorably to soybean meal as
a protein supplement for turkey poults (155). The rearing technology for fly larvae needs to be
further developed, as large volumes are required for supplementing commercial poultry diets. An
automated process for growing and harvesting the larvae will be required for this technology to
become commercially feasible.
Acridids are an attractive and important natural source of food for many kinds of vertebrate
animals, including birds, lizards, snakes, amphibians, and fish (10). The Chinese grasshopper
(Acrida cinerea) could replace 15% of chicken diets containing soybean meal and fish meal from 8
to 20 days posthatching without any adverse effects on broiler weight gain, feed intake, or FCR
(149). The grasshopper Zonocerus variegatus can replace fish meal for rabbits (107).
The yellow mealworm has been shown to be an acceptable protein source for African catfish
(Clarias gariepinus) (104) and for broiler chickens (122). Silkworm (B. mori ) pupae mash was
successfully used as a replacement for fish meal in poultry diets, supporting both growth and egg
production (150). Similar results were obtained with silkworm (Anaphe infracta) caterpillar meal
(67). In Italy, preimaginal stages of Spodoptera littoralis have been evaluated to replace fish meal as
possible feed for rainbow trout (33).
Most edible insects are harvested in the wild. However, insects such as silkworms and honey bees
have been domesticated for a very long time because of their by-products, although in both cases the
insects themselves are also eaten (16). Another insect that is domesticated is cochineal (Dactylopius
coccus), which yields the carminic acid used as red dye in human food as well as in the pharmaceuti-
cal and cosmetic industries. In Peru they are either harvested from prickly pear plants growing in
the wild or planted as live fences around houses. In Mexico cochineal are grown in environment-
controlled microtunnels made of transparent plastic, on Opuntia ficus-indica var. atlixco (7). Envi-
ronmental manipulations to procure edible insects could be considered as semicultivation. The
most prominent examples of this are (a) harvesting edible eggs of aquatic hemipterans from artifi-
cial oviposition sites in lakes in Mexico; (b) deliberately cutting palm trees in the tropics to trigger
egg laying by palm weevils (Rhynchophorus spp.) and the subsequent harvesting of larvae; and (c)ma-
nipulating host tree distribution and abundance, shifting cultivation, implementing fire regimes,
managing host tree preservation, and manually introducing caterpillars to a designated area to
promote the abundance of arboreal, foliage-consuming caterpillars in sub-Saharan Africa (145).
Recent examples of edible insects being commercially farmed for human consumption include
the house cricket, the palm weevil (Rhynchophorus ferrugineus), the giant water bug (Lethocerus
indicus) in Thailand (Y. Hanboonsong, personal communication), and water beetles in China (69).
However, when promoting insects as food and feed, procedures for large-scale rearing need to be
developed. This is a challenge for industries specialized in the mass rearing of insects for biocontrol,
sterile insect technique, and pet feed (18). The major issues in mass rearing are quality, reliability,
and cost-effectiveness. In addition, pathogens such as the A. domesticus densovirus can constitute
a serious problem in commercial rearings in the United States and Europe (138). This pathogen
does not seem to affect the cottage industry rearing of this cricket species in Southeast Asia.
When produced as animal feed or human food, insects should compare favorably to conven-
tional protein products. It is technically feasible to mass-produce insects for human consumption
using industrial methods (78). Whether automation is economically interesting depends largely
on labor costs. Furthermore, automation has the advantages of increased product performance
and consistency, reduction in microbial contamination by personnel, and increased space
568 van Huis
Annu. Rev. Entomol. 2013.58:563-583. Downloaded from
by on 01/15/13. For personal use only.
EN58CH28-vanHuis ARI 28 November 2012 16:17
utilization (116). Insects such as the silkworm (B. mori ), the termite Macrotermes subhyalinus,
and the drugstore beetle (Stegobium paniceum) have been considered for space-based agricultural
systems because they can recycle waste material (72). A drugstore beetle growth reactor large
enough to provide 100 people with animal protein occupies only 40 m3(77).
Insects are generally considered a nondomesticated resource, as few species are reared. Caterpillars
gathered in the wild have a comparative advantage over those edible species gathered from crops
as they are free from pesticides. However, overexploitation has led to the disappearance of mopane
caterpillars (Imbrasia belina) from parts of Botswana (87) and South Africa (68). To address this
problem some community leaders have placed embargos on harvesting during certain periods (90),
but modeling has shown that this may not lead to sustainable harvesting of the larvae (6). The
logging of commercial sapelli trees (Entandrophragma cylindricum) in the Central African Republic
threatens the survival of the important caterpillar Imbrasia oyemensis (147). To allow regeneration
of the tree species, the present forest concession rules require loggers to leave at least one seed
tree of sapelli for every 10 ha of logged forests. This may result in a significant reduction in the
caterpillar supply as well as in the regeneration of young sapelli trees, as harvesting caterpillars
is more easily done by cutting down the trees. In Benue State, Nigeria, 10 most preferred and
consumed insect species have been identified, but deforestation, water pollution, and bush burning
reduce their availability (3). In Mexico, 14 edible insect species were documented as threatened
due to overexploitation or ecosystem degradation (121). Overexploitation may occur because of
the higher demand resulting from an increase in human population or when harvesting is carried
out by nonnative and nonqualified independent harvesters. For example, when collectors did not
respect harvesting rotations of the weaver ant Oecophylla smaragdina, they depleted this resource
in Indonesia (26). Ecosystem degradation may occur due to pollution (aquatic Hemiptera) or
pesticide use (Aegiale hesperiaris in agave) (121). In France, until the mid-1980s, mayflies (Ephoron
virgo), also called manna, were collected in large quantities by local fishermen along the Saˆ
River and sold to middlemen and traders to be mixed into animal feed (mainly for farm birds) (27).
However, development of the river banks very likely degraded mayfly habitat. Possible measures
to conserve insect populations include documenting their significance to people’s livelihoods,
assessing the links between insect collection and the ecosystem, and enforcing legislation.
However, methods conducive to insect survival and reproduction should also be developed, e.g.,
providing food resources, creating suitable habitats, harvesting sustainably (e.g., allowing repair
of ant and wasp nests), and employing (semi)rearing like that being done for wild silkworms. In
the last case, the African wild silkmoth Gonometa postica was reared in semicaptivity by using net
sleeves on the branches of host plants to protect the larvae against predators and parasitoids (105).
Other practices include the transfer of edible caterpillars to trees near the homestead (80) or to
other tree species to improve their flavor (131).
In the tropics there are numerous examples of pests that are also used as food and feed (24, 35, 80).
Governments may even encourage people to consume insects in order to control plagues, as was
the case during a locust plague in Thailand (153). However, control is often not intended; e.g., in
Niger women can earn more money by marketing edible grasshoppers caught in their millet fields
and harmful to the crops than by trading the crop itself (144). However, there are very few examples
in which harvesting insects is considered a control method. For example, in Vientiane Province, Insects as Food/Feed to Assure Food Security 569
Annu. Rev. Entomol. 2013.58:563-583. Downloaded from
by on 01/15/13. For personal use only.
EN58CH28-vanHuis ARI 28 November 2012 16:17
Laos, electric-light water traps were placed facing rice fields, but their primary aim was to capture
edible insects and not to control pests (A. van Huis, personal observation). Grasshoppers such as
Oxya chinensis, also edible but harmful to crops, were collected in rice fields in Indochina by drawing
nets or baskets over the young rice plants (16). In Mexico chemical control and manual harvesting
of an edible insect pest species were compared. The grasshopper Sphenarium purpurascens,apest
of corn, bean, alfalfa, squash, and broad bean in Mexico, Guatemala, and some Caribbean islands,
is often controlled using organophosphorus pesticides. However, it is also a key species in the
Mesoamerican diet, and for that reason the insect is manually harvested very early in the morning,
after which it is sold on the market. Manual harvesting in alfalfa reduced egg densities significantly
but proved less effective than insecticide spraying (25). However, besides the other negative side
effects inherent in the latter method, a potential food is contaminated. Also, in the Philippines
harvesting of several edible insect species, e.g., a migratory locust (Locusta migratoria manilensis),
a mole beetle (Gryllotalpa sp.), a June beetle (Leucopholis irrorata), and the Korean bug (Palembus
dermestoides), is reported to serve as a control strategy (1).
Conflicts may arise in national chemical control campaigns against pest insect species that
are used as feed or food (35). During the winter of 1988/1989, locusts invading Kuwait were
sprayed with insecticides, even though the local population consumed them. Chemical analysis
showed high amounts of phosphorus- and chlorine-containing pesticide residues in the samples
(126). In other cases, introducing pesticides reduces biodiversity in field ecosystems, endangering
natural food resources. For example, in aquatic rice fields in Laos, 200 species of fish, amphibians,
crustaceans, mollusks, and insects supply a range of nutrients to villagers (108). Of the nine insect
species investigated, only the cricket Gryllus testaceus had the highest protein content and contained
high-quality fatty acids (148). This indicates the importance of refraining from pesticide use under
such circumstances.
One example in which biological control can be combined with the practice of entomophagy is
provided by weaver ants of the genus Oecophylla, which are effective predators of many pest species
in orchards (146). As it happens, queen brood is a popular food item in Thailand and Laos and
large amounts are marketed. In mango plantations in Thailand, feeding the ants with cat food and
sucrose produced at least twice as much brood per tree as with unfed ants, and the harvest was
sustainable and compatible with biological control (110).
At least 50 publications focus on the nutritional value of insects as feed and food, some concentrat-
ing on specific regions in the world and others concentrating on protein or fatty acid content of spe-
cific species. Because the nutritional composition of the 1,900 edible insects so far recorded is highly
variable, it is difficult to generalize as to their food value (23, 34). Not only species but also devel-
opment stage and diet are likely to be important determinants of nutritional composition (112).
Protein quality in relation to human requirements is measured by amino acid profiles and
digestibility. In Nigeria four popular edible insect species (Imbrasia belina, Rhynchophorus phoenicis,
Oryctes rhinoceros, Macrotermes bellicosus) have been shown to contain all essential amino acids, with
relatively high amounts of lysine, threonine, and methionine, which are the major limiting amino
acids in cereal- and legume-based diets (46). However, amino acid profiles differ so much among
edible insect species that it is recommended that the protein quality be analyzed in relation to that
of the dietary staple (23). For example, lysine is commonly the first limiting amino acid in cereals,
but the termite M. bellicosus in Nigeria complements this deficiency (23). Similarly, in Papua New
Guinea the protein of the staple food tubers such as yam, taro, and sweet potato are limited in
lysine and leucine, but the larvae of Rhynchophorus bilineatus are a good source of these amino acids
570 van Huis
Annu. Rev. Entomol. 2013.58:563-583. Downloaded from
by on 01/15/13. For personal use only.
EN58CH28-vanHuis ARI 28 November 2012 16:17
Gut loading:
providing animals with
a high-quality diet
prior to being
Hazard Analysis and
Critical Control
Point system:
a systematic preventive
approach for quality
assurance that
identifies, evaluates,
and controls physical,
chemical, and
biological hazards
throughout the
food/feed production
(23, 93). In Botswana the use of I. belina as a high-protein food component for children has been
explored (111), and in Kenya its addition to weaning food was most promising (8).
The fat content of food insects is variable among species, but the highest values are found in
termites and palm weevil larvae (23). The saturated/unsaturated fatty acid ratio of most edible
insects is less than 40%, comparing favorably with poultry and fish, although the content of
polyunsaturates, linoleic and linolenic acids, is higher in insects (39).
When evaluating the importance of entomophagy, the focus has often been on protein content.
However, the very high amounts of important micronutrients in insects, in particular, iron and
zinc, may be of considerably greater importance (95). Iron and zinc deficiencies are widespread
in developing countries, especially in children and women of reproductive age: Approximately 2
billion people are deficient in zinc and 1 billion have iron-deficiency anemia (98). Termites and
crickets, commonly eaten among the Luo in Kenya, have high iron and zinc contents (30). How-
ever, additional studies are required to determine the bioavailability of iron and zinc from insects.
In some traditional methods of processing edible larvae, the gut content is removed by applying
pressure on the caterpillar from the head downwards between the collector’s fingers (90). The
opposite of degutting, gut loading, can be practiced for commercially raised insect species (56). Gut
loading has been studied for house crickets, yellow mealworm larvae, and silkworm (B. mori ) larvae
and has proved effective in increasing the calcium/protein ratio (64) and vitamin A content (56).
Chitin (the main component of the arthropod exoskeleton), chitosan (produced by deacetyla-
tion of chitin), and chitooligosaccharides (degraded products of chitosan or chitin) have attracted
considerable interest because of their biological activity, which includes immunity-enhancing ef-
fects (82, 99, 124, 151) and both promoting the growth of beneficial bacteria and inhibiting the
growth and activity of pathogenic microorganisms (73, 85, 99). For example, 15% shrimp meal
(2.8% chitin) in broiler chicken diets resulted in increased populations of intestinal Lactobacillus
and decreased intestinal E. coli and cecal Salmonella (73). For that reason, insect products may prove
interesting for replacing the use of antibiotics to treat and prevent infectious bacterial diseases
in poultry and livestock feed, because the emergence and spread of antibiotic-resistant bacterial
strains of Campylobacter sp., E. coli, and Enterococcus sp. from poultry products to consumers pose
human health risks (11, 74).
Allergies are an increasing problem in Western populations living in hygienic environments,
whereas the prevalence of allergies remains much lower in developing countries burdened with
poverty and poor hygiene (22). The hygiene hypothesis suggests that the exposure to chitin-
containing intestinal parasites during childhood explains the aforementioned asymmetric preva-
lence of allergy in populations (22). Would an increase in consumption of chitin through promo-
tion of insects as food in early childhood protect against allergy later?
When developing food/feed from edible insects and insect-based ingredients, potential safety
issues regarding consumers and animal health should be identified and mitigated (e.g., microbial,
chemical, toxicological, and allergenic risks). The Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point
system is a preventive system adopted by the Codex Alimentarius Commission (52). There have
been incidences of problems with food safety throughout the world. For example, the ataxic
syndrome that occurs after the consumption of the African silkworm Anaphe venata is particularly
common in southwest Nigeria in the rainy season (2). The period of wide availability of larvae
coincides with the occurrence of the seasonal ataxia, a neurological disorder. It has been suggested
that this may occur in poorly nourished persons who are marginally thiamine-deficient because
of a monotonous diet of carbohydrates containing thiamine-binding cyanogenic glycosides. A Insects as Food/Feed to Assure Food Security 571
Annu. Rev. Entomol. 2013.58:563-583. Downloaded from
by on 01/15/13. For personal use only.
EN58CH28-vanHuis ARI 28 November 2012 16:17
seasonal exacerbation of their thiamine deficiency from thiaminases in seasonal foods such as this
silkworm could cause ataxia. A thorough heat treatment is necessary to detoxify the enzyme in the
caterpillar to make it acceptable as a safe source of high-quality protein (106).
Because of the wide acceptability and consumption of the larvae of Cirina forda (Westwood)
(Lepidoptera: Saturniidae) in Nigeria, a toxicological study on them was conducted (5). Although
oral administration of the raw extract of the larvae was toxic to mice, the commonly used local
procedure of boiling and sun-drying the larvae eliminated possible neurotoxins.
After being degutted, boiled, and dried, stored mopane caterpillars may be prone to fungal
infection, reducing their nutritional value (96). To maintain quality, the caterpillars should be
dried quickly and evenly after harvesting and processing and subsequently stored under cool, dry
conditions (133).
A heating step is sufficient for inactivation of Enterobacteriaceae; however, spore-forming
bacteria, most probably introduced through soil, survive this treatment. Alternative preservation
techniques without the use of a refrigerator, such as drying and acidifying, seem practical and
promising (76).
Because most edible insect species are collected in the wild, they are only seasonally available, unless
preservation methods allow storage for longer periods. Some insect species in Asian countries are
preserved by canning, including wasp larvae, weaver ant brood, silkworm pupae, giant water bugs,
crickets, and grasshoppers. However, most species offered on the market are sold live. Therefore,
many are only available early in the morning. But this depends on the time of day they are caught;
grasshoppers are often sold throughout the day. Shelf life can be extended by keeping them
refrigerated, or they can be sold fried as ready-to-eat food. Weaver ant larvae and pupae and stink
bugs being sold in markets in Thailand are placed on ice. Caterpillar species in tropical countries
often undergo some processing before they are sold on the market. For example, in northern
Zambia, caterpillar processing for long-term storage in the household or for sale involves the
following steps: (a) eviscerating (degutting) live caterpillars soon after they are collected from the
foliage of host plants; (b) roasting the eviscerated caterpillars over hot coals, from bonfires set up
in the woodlands, until the setae and spine body adornments are burned off and the caterpillars
become hardened; (c) sun-drying the roasted caterpillars until they are crispy; and (d) packaging
the sun-dried caterpillars in sacks or other material (90).
Processing edible insects into conventional consumer products seems to encourage ento-
mophagy, as was shown in Kenya, where termites and lake flies (Chaoboridae and Chironomidae)
were baked, boiled, steamed, and processed into crackers, muffins, sausages, and meat loaf (14).
Sorghum and Bambara nuts mixed with caterpillars was considered to be a protein-enriched food
suitable for children 10 years of age and older (8).
Processing influences the nutritional content of the insects. Degutting the mopane caterpil-
lar increased crude protein content and digestibility, whereas cooking lowered them, and hot
coal–roasting elevated mineral content, probably due to contamination (88). Toasting and solar
drying can decrease the in vitro protein digestibility and vitamin content of edible winged termites
(Macrotermes subhylanus) and the edible grasshopper Ruspolia differens (75). In smoke-dried samples
of Rh. phoenicis and Oryctes monoceros larvae, cholesterol concentrations were approximately 60%
and 20% of those of the raw and fried samples, respectively (45).
Therefore, optimal processing methods need to be investigated to promote commercialization
of insect products. In the Western world, consumer acceptance is likely to be associated with the
development and implementation of an appropriate processing strategy (e.g., extracting, purifying,
572 van Huis
Annu. Rev. Entomol. 2013.58:563-583. Downloaded from
by on 01/15/13. For personal use only.
EN58CH28-vanHuis ARI 28 November 2012 16:17
and using insect protein as a food additive) (32). Then characteristics of the protein need to be de-
termined, e.g., solubility, thermal stability, and capacity to gel, form fiber, emulsify, and foam, and
the sensory properties need to be established as well. For insects used as feed, the process of extract-
ing proteins would be too expensive, but insects still need to be grown, harvested, dried, ground,
and packaged. The optimal level of inclusion of these insect products in feed should be determined.
Although in tropical countries the retail price of edible insects is often higher than that of con-
ventional meat, insects are regularly preferred, indicating how much they are appreciated as a
delicacy. For example, the availability of the mopane caterpillar on the market affected the sale
of beef, which was cheaper, among the Pedi in South Africa (119). In Uganda the retail price of
R. differens is US$2.80 per kilogram, whereas beef retails at approximately US$2 per kilogram
in Kampala (4). In this case the grasshopper trade is dominated by men and characterized by
wholesalers who buy grasshoppers from collectors and in turn sell to retailers, who subsequently
sell to consumers. The business is concentrated around urban areas, along the roadside or high-
way vehicle-stopping points where there are networks of distributors, sellers, and buyers. Several
key barriers, however, hamper the practical trade of R. differens, e.g., high market dues levied to
traders, among others.
As the larvae and pupae of the weaver ant Oecophylla smaragdina, a popular food item in Southeast
Asia, can only be kept fresh for two days, profits depend on the time between harvesting and selling
(26). They can also be sold after boiling and drying, however, which makes them a 20% lighter
product that can still be sold for half of the original price for up to six months.
Collection of edible caterpillars in the Central African Republic is done mainly by men (85%),
of which 88% are students. The selling is entirely done by women, of which 75% are students and
the rest professional fruit and vegetable saleswomen; however, selling insects can become their
main activity during the caterpillar season (91).
Some edible insect species are collected early in the morning or evening, making the activity
compatible with other activities, and hence increasing the efficiency of income generation. In Laos
earnings from collecting crickets can be greater than those from raising cattle or growing rice (94).
Knowledge about consumer preferences and barriers for using insects as human food and animal
feed is scanty but necessary in order to set up commercialization trajectories. In aquaculture and
aviculture, the inclusion of insects in feed will probably not be considered a problem by consumers,
as insects are already natural feed for fish and birds.
Concerning insects for human consumption, (whole) insects are an accepted food item in most
culinary cultures of the world, although there are taboos (81). Food acceptance is controlled by af-
fective, personal, cultural, and situational factors, but motives are based mostly on sensory/pleasure
considerations and health. Humans are inclined to avoid unfamiliar foods (neophobia), particularly
when they are of animal origin (89). With these novel foods, humans exhibit both an interest in
(obtaining a wide variety of nutrients) and a reluctance to (the possibility that these foods may be
harmful or toxic) eating them (the omnivore’s dilemma). Neophobic reactions toward novel foods
of animal origin may be decreased by lowering individuals’ perceptions of their disgusting prop-
erties (89). Initial disgust with respect to a certain food can be turned into a preference, e.g., sushi
in the Western world. Such an example shows that food preferences are not stable and can change
over time. Considering that consumer acceptance of insect food and food ingredients is a significant Insects as Food/Feed to Assure Food Security 573
Annu. Rev. Entomol. 2013.58:563-583. Downloaded from
by on 01/15/13. For personal use only.
EN58CH28-vanHuis ARI 28 November 2012 16:17
Nociception: neural
processes of encoding
and processing noxious
barrier, broad public debate can explain the sustainability of food production systems and the need
to find alternative protein sources that are acceptable. Appropriate processing strategies could be
developed and implemented by transforming insects into more conventional forms (analogous to
hot dogs or fish sticks) or by adding extracted and purified insect proteins to food items. Perceived
risk, benefit, and control (regulation and effective labeling) are powerful determinants of consumer
acceptance of novel and traditional foods (57), as are perceptions of potential environmental im-
pact, at least for some consumers (60). Proper food risk management should include a preventive
strategy, identifiable control systems that respond quickly to contain a risk, and enough informa-
tion for consumers to exercise informed choice (63). Due account should be taken of the role of
risk assessment and associated legislation (e.g., in relation to potential allergic reactions or other
safety issues) when developing novel foods from edible insects and insect-based ingredients. These
issues need to be translated into how end products should be designed, labeled, and marketed.
Animal welfare is another consideration that may be involved in consumer acceptance when
insects are reared. With conventional livestock farming, most concerns relate to density of animals
per surface area; this does not apply to insects, as many species usually live naturally in crowded
conditions, e.g., locusts that are in the gregarious phase when reared. Another point of debate
would be whether insects can perceive pain. Electrophiles, a class of noxious compounds that
humans find pungent and irritating, can be detected by Drosophila flies (71). Drosophila larvae also
show nociceptive behavior (rolling) when attacked by a parasitoid, but it was not clear whether
the insect brain was involved or lower-level neural systems (65). Therefore, pain perception goes
beyond nociception, and some data suggest that there is cognition in some invertebrates (48). This
may be a reason to suggest taking good care of insects when rearing them.
Finally, consumers need to know where they can obtain the insects and how they should be
prepared. This then involves marketing, advertising, and the preparation of recipe books.
Although insects form part of the human diet in many countries and regions of the world, their
consumption is often not promoted and Western dietary patterns seem to be dominant. Western
societies have never seriously considered entomophagy as an option. However, in future, meat-
centric diets will become increasingly expensive and grain–livestock systems environmentally un-
sustainable (70). Mitigation strategies have been proposed for the meat crisis that better utilize
available technologies, which could reduce non–carbon dioxide emissions from livestock produc-
tion by approximately 20% if applied universally (92). These measures include reformulation of
ruminant diets to reduce enteric fermentation and methane emission, capturing methane from
manure to use as a source of energy, burning animal waste for fuel, and raising cattle for beef
organically on grass (79). To stabilize GHG emission from livestock production, global average
meat consumption should stabilize at 33 kg year1(from 17 and 82 kg year1in developing and
developed countries, respectively) (92), although this would not improve nutrition of the poor
in developing countries (125). Changing land use and agriculture and practicing modest meat
consumption can contribute to a sustainable model of food production (135).
Insects for human consumption and as feedstock for livestock and fish could contribute to food
security and be part of the solution to the meat crisis considering the low emissions of GHG, the
high FCR, and the option of using organic side streams to feed the insects. At the same time, the
production of insect biomass as feedstock for animals and fish can be combined with biodegradation
of manure and the composting and sanitizing of waste. Grains targeted as livestock feed, which
often comprise half of the meat production costs, could then be used for human consumption.
574 van Huis
Annu. Rev. Entomol. 2013.58:563-583. Downloaded from
by on 01/15/13. For personal use only.
EN58CH28-vanHuis ARI 28 November 2012 16:17
Organic waste
Mass rearing
Food technology
Driving forces:
Environmental concerns about conventional meat
Increasing food and feed prices
Figure 1
The interface between state, industry, and science necessary to promote insects as food and feed.
Therefore, edible insects are a serious alternative to the conventional production of meat, either
for direct human consumption or for indirect use as feedstock.
A new industrial sector for insects as food and feed is ripe for development. In developing
countries, the sustainable harvesting of edible insects from the wild requires a nature conserva-
tion strategy such as that proposed for honey bees and silk moths (120). Habitat manipulation
measures should enhance abundance and accessibility of insect populations. The possibility of si-
multaneously controlling pest insects by harvesting them as food/feed could be further exploited.
However, collection from the wild will not suffice to promote entomophagy, and rearing proce-
dures for some targeted species need to be developed. A cosmopolitan species such as the house
cricket is a likely candidate, considering its nutritional value, taste, and ease of rearing. Preservation
and processing techniques should increase shelf life, conserve quality, and increase acceptability of
insect products. Micronutrient bioavailability (particularly of iron and zinc) in edible insects needs
further investigation, considering the massive occurrence of these deficiencies in the tropics.
The feedstock industry would require immense quantities of insect biomass in order to replace
present protein-rich ingredients such as meal and oil from fish and soybeans. Considerations
for such large-scale insect production are the intrinsic rate of increase, weight gain per day,
FCR, invulnerability to diseases, the potential to rear insects on organic side streams, suitability
for automation, and selection of high-quality strains. As such, BSF and yellow mealworm are
good candidates. The challenge for this new industry will be to assure cost-effective, reliable
production of an insect biomass of high and consistent quality. Other challenges to address are
food safety issues (pesticides, contaminants, heavy metals, pathogens, allergenicity) and processing
procedures for transforming insects into protein meal for animal/fish feedstock or for the extraction
of insect proteins to be used as ingredients for the food industry. Regulatory frameworks are Insects as Food/Feed to Assure Food Security 575
Annu. Rev. Entomol. 2013.58:563-583. Downloaded from
by on 01/15/13. For personal use only.
EN58CH28-vanHuis ARI 28 November 2012 16:17
presently missing, as the industry tries to be proactive in being self-regulatory. The collaboration
of government, industry, and academia is often conditional to success (Figure 1). It is an innovative
challenge demanding a multidisciplinary approach, whereas marketing and public acceptance
require interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary approaches.
1. The consumption of approximately 1,900 insect species harvested from nature for
human consumption, mostly in developing countries, will decline if this food source is
not revalued.
2. The world prices for grain, and consequently meat, will increase during the next 30 years,
and this will prompt the search for alternative protein sources, among which insects are
considered to be very promising.
3. The most frequently reared edible insect species (crickets, locusts, and mealworms) emit
lower levels of GHG than do conventional livestock.
4. Some insect species can biodegrade organic waste and transform it into high-quality
insect biomass.
5. Insects can partly replace increasingly expensive protein ingredients of compound feeds
in the livestock, poultry, and aquaculture industries.
6. A challenge to insects becoming an important protein source for humans and animals is
the development of cost-effective, automated mass-rearing facilities that produce stable,
reliable, and safe products.
7. When entomophagy is promoted in developing countries, major challenges are to develop
sustainable harvesting practices, to enhance natural populations by semicultivation, and
to set up cottage industry–like rearing facilities.
8. To develop a new economic sector of insects as food and feed, a multi-, inter-, and
transdisciplinary approach is required, in which government authorities, industry, and
scientists need to collaborate.
The author is not aware of any affiliations, memberships, funding, or financial holdings that might
be perceived as affecting the objectivity of this review.
Joost Van Itterbeeck, Harmke Klunder, Dennis Oonincx, Sarah van Broekhoven, Joop van Loon,
and Marcel Dicke provided helpful comments on the draft manuscript.
1. Adalla CB, Cervancia CR. 2010. Philippine edible insects: a new opportunity to bridge the protein gap
of resource-poor families and to manage pests. In Edible Forest Insects: Humans Bite Back, ed. PB Durst,
DV Johnson, RN Leslie, K Shono, pp. 151–60. Bangkok: Food Agric. Organ. Reg. Off. Asia and the
2. Adamolekun B. 1993. Anaphe venata entomophagy and seasonal ataxic syndrome in southwest Nigeria.
Lancet 341:629
576 van Huis
Annu. Rev. Entomol. 2013.58:563-583. Downloaded from
by on 01/15/13. For personal use only.
EN58CH28-vanHuis ARI 28 November 2012 16:17
3. Agbidye FS, Ofuya TI, Akindele SO. 2009. Some edible insect species consumed by the people of Benue
State, Nigeria. Pak. J. Nutr. 8:946–50
4. Agea JG, Biryomumaisho D, Buyinza M, Nabanoga GN. 2008. Commercialization of Ruspolia nitidula
(Nsenene grasshoppers) in Central Uganda. Afr. J. Food Agric. Dev. 8:319–32
5. Akinnawo OO, Abatan MO, Ketiku AO. 2002. Toxicological study on the edible larva of Cirina forda
(Westwood). Afr. J. Biomed. Res. 5(1, 2):43–46
6. Akpalu W, Muchapondwa E, Zikhali P. 2009. Can the restrictive harvest period policy conserve mopane
worms in Southern Africa? A bio-economic modelling approach. Environ. Dev. Econ. 14:587–600
7. Aldama-Aguilera C, Lianderal-Cazares C, Soto-Hernandez M, Castillo-Marquez LE. 2005. Cochineal
(Dactylopius coccus Costa) production in prickly pear plants in the open and in microtunnel greenhouses.
Agrociencia 39:161–71
8. Allotey J, Mpuchane S. 2003. Utilization of useful insects as food source. Afr. J. Food Agric. Nutr. Dev.
9. Alston JM, Beddow JM, Pardey PG. 2009. Agricultural research, productivity, and food prices in the
long run. Science 325:1209–10
10. Anand H, Ganguly A, Haldar P. 2008. Potential value of acridids as high protein supplement for poultry
feed. Int. J. Poult. Sci. 7:722–25
11. Apata DF. 2009. Antibiotic resistance in poultry Int. J. Poult. Sci. 8:404–8
12. Asgar MA, Fazilah A, Huda N, Bhat R, Karim AA. 2010. Nonmeat protein alternatives as meat extenders
and meat analogs. Compr. Rev. Food Sci. Food Saf. 9:513–29
13. Awoniyi TAM, Adetuyi FC, Akinyosoye FA. 2004. Microbiological investigation of maggot meal, stored
for use as livestock feed component. J. Food Agric. Environ. 2:104–6
14. Ayieko MA, Oriamo V, Nyambuga IA. 2010. Processed products of termites and lake flies: improving
entomophagy for food security within the Lake Victoria region. Afr. J. Food Agric. Nutr. Dev. 10:2085–98
15. Bequaert J. 1921. Insects as food. How they have augmented the food supply of mankind in early and
recent times. J. Am. Mus. Nat. Hist. 21:191–200
16. Bodenheimer FS. 1951. Insects as Human Food: A Chapter of the Ecology of Man. The Hague: Junk. 352 pp.
17. Bogner J, Pipatti R, Hashimoto S, Diaz C, Mareckova K, et al. 2008. Mitigation of global greenhouse gas
emissions from waste: conclusions and strategies from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
(IPCC) Fourth Assessment Report. Working Group III (Mitigation). Waste Manag. Res. 26:11–32
18. Bolckmans KJF. 2010. New, Novel, Innovative and Emerging Applications of Insect Rearing. Symposium No.
5. 12th Workshop of the Arthropod Mass Rearing and Quality Control Working Group of the IOBC,
October 19–22, Vienna, Austria
19. Bondari K, Sheppard DC. 1987. Soldier fly, Hermetia illucens L., larvae as feed for channel catfish, Ictalurus
punctatus (Rafinesque), and blue tilapia, Oreochromis aureus (Steindachner). Aquacult. Fish. Manag. 18:209–
20. Bradley SW, Sheppard DC. 1984. House fly oviposition inhibition by larvae of Hermetia illucens,the
black soldier fly. J. Chem. Ecol. 10:853–59
21. Brar SK, Verma M, Tyagi RD, Val´
eroand JR, Surampalli RY. 2008. Wastewater sludges as novel growth
substrates for rearing codling moth larvae. World J. Microbiol. Biotechnol. 24:2849–57
22. Brinchmann BC, Bayat M, Brøgger T, Muttuvelu DV, Tjønneland A, Sigsgaard T. 2011. A possible role
of chitin in the pathogenesis of asthma and allergy. Ann. Agric. Environ. Med. 18:7–12
23. Bukkens SGF. 1997. The nutritional value of edible insects. Ecol. Food Nutr. 36:287–319
24. Cerritos R. 2009. Insects as food: an ecological, social and economical approach. CAB Rev. Perspect. Agric.
Vet. Sci. Nutr. Nat. Resour. 4:1–10
25. Cerritos R, Cano-Santana Z. 2008. Harvesting grasshoppers Sphenarium purpurascens in Mexico for
human consumption: a comparison with insecticidal control for managing pest outbreaks. Crop Prot.
26. C´
esard N. 2004. Harvesting and commercialisation of kroto (Oecophylla smaragdina) in the Malingping
area, West Java, Indonesia. In Forest Products, Livelihoods and Conservation: Case Studies of Non-Timber
Forest Product Systems. Vol. 1: Asia, ed. K Kusters, B Belcher, pp. 61–78. Jakarta: Cent. Int. For. Res.
27. C´
esard N. 2010. Vie et mort de la manne blanche des riverains de la Saˆ
one. Etudes Rurales 185:83–98 Insects as Food/Feed to Assure Food Security 577
Annu. Rev. Entomol. 2013.58:563-583. Downloaded from
by on 01/15/13. For personal use only.
EN58CH28-vanHuis ARI 28 November 2012 16:17
28. Chapagain AK, Hoekstra AY. 2003. Virtual water flows between nations in relation to trade in livestock
and livestock products. Value Water Res. Rep. Ser. No. 13, U.N. Educ., Sci., Cult. Organ., Inst. Water
Educ., Delft, Neth. 60 pp.
29. Cherry R. 1991. Use of insects by Australian aborigines. Am. Entomol. 32:8–13
30. Christensen DL, Orech FO, Mungai MN, Larsen T, Friis H, Aagaard-Hansen J. 2006. Entomophagy
among the Luos of Kenya: a potential mineral source? Int. J. Food Sci. Nutr. 57:198–203
31. Compares feed
conversion efficiencies
between reared crickets
and conventional
31. Collavo A, Glew RH, Huang Y-S, Chuang L-T, Bosse R, Paoletti MG. 2005. House cricket
small-scale farming. See Ref. 115, pp. 519–44
32. Damodaran S. 1997. Food proteins: an overview. In Food Proteins and Their Applications, ed. S Damodaran,
A Paraf, pp. 1–21. New York: Marcel Dekker
33. Danieli PP, Ronchi B, Speranza S. 2011. Alternative animal protein sources for aquaculture: a preliminary
study on nutritional traits of Mediterranean brocade (Spodoptera littoralis Boisduval) larvae. Ital.J.Anim.
Sci. 10:109
34. DeFoliart G. 1992. Insect as human food. Gene DeFoliart discusses some nutritional and economic
aspects. Crop Prot. 11:395–99
35. DeFoliart G. 1997. An overview of the role of edible insects in preserving biodiversity. Ecol. Food Nutr.
36. DeFoliart G. 2012. The human use of insects as a food resource: a bibliographic account in progress.http://www.
37. DeFoliart G, Dunkel FV, Gracer D. 2009. The Food Insects Newsletter: Chronicle of a Changing Culture.
Salt Lake City, UT: Aardvark. 414 pp.
38. DeFoliart GR. 1989. The human use of insects as food and as animal feed. Bull. Entomol. Soc. Am.
39. DeFoliart GR. 1991. Insect fatty acids: similar to those of poultry and fish in their degree of unsaturation,
but higher in the polyunsaturates. Food Insects Newsletter 4:1–4
40. Discusses the
importance of
worldwide and the
effect of Western bias.
40. DeFoliart GR. 1999. Insects as food: why the Western attitude is important. Annu. Rev. Entomol.
41. DeFoliart GR. 2005. An overview of role of edible insects in preserving biodiversity. See Ref. 115,
pp. 141–61
42. Despins JL, Axtell RC. 1995. Feeding behavior and growth of broiler chicks fed larvae of the Darkling
beetle, Alphitobius diaperinus.Poult. Sci. 74:331–36
43. Deutsch L, Gr¨
aslund S, Folke C, Troell M, Huitric M, et al. 2007. Feeding aquaculture growth through
globalization: exploitation of marine ecosystems for fishmeal. Glob. Environ. Change 17:238–49
44. Diener S, Zurbr¨
ugg C, Tockner K. 2009. Conversion of organic material by black soldier fly larvae:
establishing optimal feeding rates. Waste Manag. Resour. 27:603–10
45. Edijala JK, Egbogbo O, Anigboro AA. 2009. Proximate composition and cholesterol concentrations
of Rhynchophorus phoenicis and Oryctes monoceros larvae subjected to different heat treatments. Afr. J.
Biotechnol. 8:2346–48
46. Ekpo KE. 2011. Effect of processing on the protein quality of four popular insects consumed in Southern
Nigeria. Arch. Appl. Sci. Res. 3:307–26
47. El Boushy AR. 1991. House-fly pupae as poultry manure converters for animal feed: a review. Bioresour.
Technol. 38:45–49
48. Elwood RW. 2011. Pain and suffering in invertebrates? Inst. Lab. Anim. Res. J. 52:175–84
49. Erickson MC, Islam M, Sheppard C, Liao J, Doyle MP. 2004. Reduction of Escherichia coli O157:H7 and
Salmonella enterica serovar Enteritidis in chicken manure by larvae of the black soldier fly. J. Food Prot.
50. Food Agric. Organ. (FAO). 2010. The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture 2010. Rome: FAO, Fish.
Aquacult. Dep.
51. Food Agric. Organ. (FAO). 2012. Assessing the Potential of Insects as Food and Feed in Assuring Food Security.
Presented at Tech. Consult. Meet., 23–25 January, FAO, Rome, Italy
52. Food Agric. Organ./World Health Organ. (FAO/WHO). 2008. Guideline for the Validation of Food Safety
Control Measures. Rome: FAO/WHO
578 van Huis
Annu. Rev. Entomol. 2013.58:563-583. Downloaded from
by on 01/15/13. For personal use only.
EN58CH28-vanHuis ARI 28 November 2012 16:17
53. Fayaz Bhat Z, Fayaz H. 2011. Prospectus of cultured meat—advancing meat alternatives. J. Food Sci.
Technol. 48:125–40
54. Fiala N. 2008. Meeting the demand: an estimation of potential future greenhouse gas emissions from
meat production. Ecol. Econ. 67:412–19
55. Determines the
nutrient composition of
most commercially
reared species for
captive insectivorous
55. Finke MD. 2002. Complete nutrient composition of commercially raised invertebrates used as
food for insectivores. Zoo Biol. 21:269–85
56. Finke MD. 2003. Gut loading to enhance the nutrient content of insects as food for reptiles: a mathe-
matical approach. Zoo Biol. 22:147–62
57. Fischer ARH, Frewer LJ. 2009. Consumer familiarity with foods and the perception of risks and benefits.
Food Qual. Prefer. 20:576–85
58. Flachowsky G. 2002. Efficiency of energy and nutrient use in the production of edible protein of animal
origin. J. Appl. Anim. Res. 22:1–24
59. Fleurence J. 1999. Seaweed proteins: biochemical, nutritional aspects and potential uses. Trends Food Sci.
Technol. 10:25–28
60. Frewer LJ, Bergmann K, Brennan M, Lion R, Meertens R, et al. 2011. Consumer response to novel
agri-food technologies: implications for predicting consumer acceptance of emerging food technologies.
Trends Food Sci. Technol. 22:442–56
61. Gustavsson J, Cederberg C, Sonesson U, van Otterdijk R, Meybeck A. 2011. Global Food Losses and Food
Waste: Extent, Causes and Prevention. Rome: Food Agric. Organ.
62. Hackstein JH, Stumm CK. 1994. Methane production in terrestrial arthropods. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci.
USA 91:5441–45
63. Houghton JR, van Kleef E, Rowe G, Frewer LJ. 2006. Consumer perceptions of the effectiveness of
food risk management practices: a cross-cultural study. Health Risk Soc. 8:165–83
64. Hunt AS, Ward AW, Ferguson GW. 2001. Effects of a high calcium diet on gut loading in varying ages
of crickets (Acheta domestica) and mealworms (Tenebrio molitor). Proceedings of the 4th Conference on Zoo and
Wildlife Nutrition, ed. MS Edwards, KJ Lisi, ML Schlegel, R Bray, Lake Buena Vista, Fla., pp. 94–99
65. Hwang RY, Zhong L, Xu Y, Johnson T, Zhang F, et al. 2007. Nociceptive neurons protect Drosophila
larvae from parasitoid wasps. Curr. Biol. 17:2105–16
66. Hwangbo J, Hong EC, Jang A, Kang HK, Oh JS, et al. 2009. Utilization of house fly–maggots, a feed
supplement in the production of broiler chickens. J. Environ. Biol. 30:609–14
67. Ijaiya AT, Eko EO. 2009. Effect of replacing dietary fish meal with silkworm (Anaphe infracta) caterpillar
meal on performance, carcass characteristics and haematological parameters of finishing broiler chicken.
Pak. J. Nutr. 8:850–55
68. Illgner P, Nel E. 2000. The geography of edible insects in sub-Saharan Africa: a study of the mopane
caterpillar. Geogr. J. 166:336–51
69. J¨
ach MA. 2003. Fried water beetles: Cantonese style. Am. Entomol. 49:34–37
70. Jarosz L. 2009. Energy, climate change, meat, and markets: mapping the coordinates of the current world
food crisis. Geogr. Compass 3:2065–83
71. Kang K, Pulver SR, Panzano VC, Chang EC, Griffith LC, et al. 2010. Analysis of Drosophila TRPA1
reveals an ancient origin for human chemical nociception. Nature 464:597–600
72. Katayama N, Ishikawa Y, Takaoki M, Yamashita M, Nakayama S, et al. 2008. Entomophagy: a key to
space agriculture. Adv. Space Res. 41:701–5
73. Khempaka S, Chitsatchapong C, Molee W. 2011. Effect of chitin and protein constituents in shrimp
head meal on growth performance, nutrient digestibility, intestinal microbial populations, volatile fatty
acids, and ammonia production in broilers. J. Appl. Poult. Res. 20:1–11
74. King DA, Peckham C, Waage JK, Brownlie J, Woolhouse MEJ. 2006. Epidemiology. Infectious diseases:
preparing for the future. Science 313:1392–93
75. Kinyuru JN, Kenji GM, Njoroge SM, Ayieko M. 2010. Effect of processing methods on the in vitro pro-
tein digestibility and vitamin content of edible winged termite (Macrotermes subhylanus) and grasshopper
(Ruspolia differens). Food Bioprocess. Technol. 3:778–82
76. Klunder HC, Wolkers-Rooijackers J, Korpela JM, Nout MJR. 2012. Microbiological aspects of process-
ing and storage of edible insects. Food Control 26:628–31 Insects as Food/Feed to Assure Food Security 579
Annu. Rev. Entomol. 2013.58:563-583. Downloaded from
by on 01/15/13. For personal use only.
EN58CH28-vanHuis ARI 28 November 2012 16:17
77. Kok R. 1983. The production of insects for human food. J. Inst. Can. Sci. Technol. Aliment. 16:5–18
78. Kok R, Lomaliza K, Shivhare US. 1988. The design and performance of an insect farm/chemical reactor
for human food production. Can. Agric. Eng. 30:307–17
79. Koneswaran G, Nierenberg D. 2008. Global farm animal production and global warming: impacting
and mitigating climate change. Environ. Health Perspect. 116:578–82
80. Latham P. 1999. Edible caterpillars of the Bas Congo Region of the Democratic Region of the Democratic
Republic of Congo. Antenna 23:135–39
81. Lawal OA, Banjo AD. 2007. Survey for the usage of arthropods in traditional medicine in Southwestern
Nigeria. J. Entomol. 4:104–12
82. Lee CG, Silva CAD, Lee J-Y, Hartl D, Elias JA. 2008. Chitin regulation of immune responses: an old
molecule with new roles. Curr. Opin. Immunol. 20:684–89
83. Li Q, Zheng L, Cai H, Garza E, Yu Z, Zhou S. 2011. From organic waste to biodiesel: black soldier fly,
Hermetia illucens, makes it feasible. Fuel 90:1545–48
84. Liu J, Yang H, Savenije HHG. 2008. China’s move to higher-meat diet hits water security. Nature
85. Liu P, Piao XS, Thacker PA, Zeng ZK, Li PF, et al. 2010. Chito-oligosaccharide reduces diarrhea
incidence and attenuates the immune response of weaned pigs challenged with Escherichia coli K881. J.
Anim. Sci. 88:3871–79
86. Liu Q, Tomberlin JK, Brady JA, Sanford MR, Yu Z. 2008. Black soldier fly (Diptera: Stratiomyidae)
larvae reduce Escherichia coli in dairy manure. Environ. Entomol. 37:1525–30
87. Madibela OR, Mokwena KK, Nsoso SJ, Thema TF. 2009. Chemical composition of mopane worm
sampled at three different sites in Botswana and subjected to different processing. Trop. Anim. Health
Prod. 41:935–42
88. Madibela OR, Seitiso TK, Thema TF, Letso M. 2007. Effect of traditional processing methods on
chemical composition and in vitro true dry matter digestibility of the mophane worm (Imbrasia belina).
J. Arid Environ. 68:492–500
89. Martins Y, Pliner P. 2005. Human food choices: an examination of the factors underlying accep-
tance/rejection of novel and familiar animal and nonanimal foods. Appetite 45:214–24
90. Mbata KJ, Chidumayo EN, Lwatula CM. 2002. Traditional regulation of edible caterpillar exploitation
in the Kopa area of Mpika District in northern Zambia. J. Insect Conserv. 6:115–30
91. Mbetid-Bessane E. 2005. Commercialization of edible caterpillars in Central African Republic.
Tropicultura 23:3–5
92. McMichael AJ, Powles JW, Butler CD, Uauy R. 2007. Food, livestock production, energy, climate
change, and health. Lancet 370:1253–63
93. Meyer-Rochow VB. 1973. Edible insects in three different ethnic groups of Papua and New Guinea.
Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 26:673–77
94. Meyer-Rochow VB, Nonaka K, Boulidam S. 2008. More feared than revered: insects and their impact
on human societies (with some specific data on the importance of entomophagy in a Laotian setting).
Entomol. Heute 20:3–25
95. Michaelsen KF, Hoppe C, Roos N, Kaestel P, Stougaard M, et al. 2009. Choice of foods and ingredients
for moderately malnourished children 6 months to 5 years of age. Food Nutr. Bull. 30:343–404
96. Mpuchane S, Gashe BA, Allotey J, Siame B, Teferra G, Dithlogo M. 2000. Quality deterioration of
phane, the edible caterpillar of an emperor moth Imbrasia belina.Food Control 11:453
97. Simulates changes
in meat consumption
and feed demand in
2030 to illustrate the
implications for various
world regions.
97. Msangi S, Rosegrant MW. 2011. Feeding the future’s changing diets: implications for agriculture
markets, nutrition, and policy. In 2020 Conference: Leveraging Agriculture for Improving Nutrition
and Health. Washington, DC: Int. Food Pol. Res. Inst.
98. M¨
uller O, Krawinkel M. 2005. Malnutrition and health in developing countries. CMAJ 173:279–86
99. Muzzarelli RAA. 2010. Chitins and chitosans as immunoadjuvants and non-allergenic drug carriers. Mar.
Drugs 8:292–312
100. Myers HM, Tomberlin JK, Lambert BD, Kattes D. 2008. Development of black soldier fly (Diptera:
Stratiomyidae) larvae fed dairy manure. Environ. Entomol. 37:11–15
580 van Huis
Annu. Rev. Entomol. 2013.58:563-583. Downloaded from
by on 01/15/13. For personal use only.
EN58CH28-vanHuis ARI 28 November 2012 16:17
101. Nakagaki BJ, deFoliart GR. 1991. Comparison of diets for mass-rearing Acheta domesticus (Orthoptera:
Gryllidae) as a novelty food, and comparison of food conversion efficiency with values reported for
livestock. J. Econ. Entomol. 84:891–96
102. Nelson GC, Rosegrant M, Koo J, Robertson R, Sulser T, et al. 2009. Climate Change: Impact on Agriculture
and Costs of Adaptation. Food Policy Report. Washington, D.C.: Int. Food Pol. Res. Inst.
103. Newton L, Sheppard C, Watson DW, Burtle G, Dove R. 2005. Using the black soldier fly, Hermetia
illucens, as a value-added tool for the management of swine manure. Rep. for Mike Williams, Dir. Anim.
Poult. Waste Manag. Cent., North Carolina State Univ., Raleigh, NC.
104. Ng WK, Liew FL, Ang LP, Won KW. 2001. Potential of mealworm (Tenebrio molitor) as an alternative
protein source in practical diets for African catfish, Clarias gariepinus.Aquacult. Res. 32:273–80
105. Ngoka BM, Kioko EN, Raina SK, Mueke JM, Kimbu DM. 2008. Semi-captive rearing of the African
wild silkmoth Gonometa postica (Lepidoptera: Lasiocampidae) on an indigenous and a non-indigenous
host plant in Kenya. Int. J. Trop. Insect Sci. 27:183–90
106. Nishimune T, Watanabe Y, Okazaki H, Akai H. 2000. Thiamin is decomposed due to Anaphe spp.
entomophagy in seasonal ataxia patients in Nigeria. J. Nutr. 130:1625–28
107. Njidda AA, Isidahomen CE. 2010. Haematology, blood chemistry and carcass characteristics of growing
rabbits fed grasshopper meal as a substitute for fish meal. Pak. Vet. J. 30:7–12
108. Nurhasan M, Maehre HK, Malde MK, Stormo SK, Halwart M, Elvevoll EO. 2010. Nutritional com-
position of aquatic species in Laotian rice field ecosystems. J. Food Compos. Anal. 23:205–13
109. Ocio E, Vi ˜
naras R, Rey JM. 1979. Housefly larvae meal grown on municipal organic waste as a source
of protein in poultry diets. Anim. Feed Sci. Technol. 4:227–31
110. Offenberg J, Wiwatwitaya D. 2009. Sustainable weaver ant (Oecophylla smaragdina) farming: harvest yields
and effects on worker ant density. Asian Myrmecol. 3:55–62
111. Ohiokpehai O. 2003. Nutritional aspects of street foods in Botswana. Pak. J. Nutr. 2:76–81
112. Oonincx DGAB, Dierenfeld ES. 2011. An investigation into the chemical composition of alternative
invertebrate prey. Zoo Biol. 29:1–15
113. Oonincx DGAB, van Itterbeeck J, Heetkamp MJW, van den Brand H, van Loon JJA, van Huis A. 2010.
An exploration on greenhouse gas and ammonia production by insect species suitable for animal or
human consumption. PLoS ONE 5:e14445
114. Pan A, Sun Q, Bernstein AM, Schulze MB, Manson JE, et al. 2012. Red meat consumption and mortality:
results from two prospective cohort studies. Arch. Intern. Med. 172:1134845
115. Treats in 29
chapters many aspects
of using a wide variety
of small animals as food.
115. Paoletti MG. 2005. Ecological Implications of Minilivestock: Potential of Insects, Rodents,Frogs and
Snails. Enfield, NH: Science. 648 pp.
116. Parker AG. 2005. Mass-rearing for sterile insect release. In Sterile Insect Technique. Principles and Practice in
Area-Wide Integrated Pest Management, ed. VA Dyck, J Heindrichs, AS Robinson, pp. 209–32. Dordrecht,
The Neth.: Springer
117. Pimentel D, Berger B, Filiberto D, Newton M, Wolfe B, et al. 2004. Water resources: agricultural and
environmental issues. BioScience 54:909–18
118. Pimentel D, Pimentel M. 2003. Sustainability of meat-based and plant-based diets and the environment.
Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 78(Suppl. 3):660S–63S
119. Quin PJ. 1959. Food and feeding habits of the Pedi with special reference to identification, classification, preparation
and nutritive value of the respective foods. PhD thesis. Johannesburg, Witwatersrand Univ. 278 pp.
120. Raina SK, Kioko E, Zethner O, Wren S. 2011. Forest habitat conservation in Africa using commercially
important insects. Annu. Rev. Entomol. 56:465–85
121. Lists 14 species of
edible insects that are
threatened due to
overexploitation and
121. Ramos-Elorduy J. 2006. Threatened edible insects in Hidalgo, Mexico and some measures to
preserve them. J. Ethnobiol. Ethnomed. 2:1–10
122. Ramos-Elorduy J, Gonzalez EA, Hernandez AR, Pino JM. 2002. Use of Tenebrio molitor (Coleoptera:
Tenebrionidae) to recycle organic wastes and as feed for broiler chickens. J. Econ. Entomol. 95:214–20
123. Ramos-Elorduy J, Pino JM, Correo SC. 1998. Insectos comestibles del Estado de M´
exico y determinaci ´
de su valor nutritivo. An. Inst. Biol. Univ. Nac. Aut´on. M´ex. Ser. Zool. 69:65–104
124. Reese TA, Liang H-E, Tager AM, Luster AD, Rooijen NV, et al. 2007. Chitin induces accumulation in
tissue of innate immune cells associated with allergy. Nature 447:92–96 Insects as Food/Feed to Assure Food Security 581
Annu. Rev. Entomol. 2013.58:563-583. Downloaded from
by on 01/15/13. For personal use only.
EN58CH28-vanHuis ARI 28 November 2012 16:17
125. Rosegrant MW, Leach N, Gerpacio RV. 1999. Alternative futures for world cereal and meat consump-
tion. Proc. Nutr. Soc. 58:219–34
126. Saeed T, Dagga FA, Saraf M. 1993. Analysis of residual pesticides present in edible locusts captured in
Kuwait. Arab Gulf J. Sci. Res. 11:1–5
127. Sealey WM, Gaylord TG, Barrows FT, Tomberlin JK, McGuire MA, et al. 2011. Sensory analysis of
rainbow trout, Oncorhynchus mykiss, fed enriched black soldier fly prepupae, Hermetia illucens.J. World
Aquacult. Soc. 42:34–45
128. Sharma S, Pradhan K, Satya S, Vasudevan P. 2005. Potentiality of earthworms for waste management
and in other uses: a review. J. Am. Sci. 1(1):4–16
129. Sheppard DC. 1983. House fly and lesser fly control utilizing the black soldier fly in manure management
systems for caged laying hens. Environ. Entomol. 12:1439–42
130. Sheppard DC, Newton GL, Thompson SA, Savage S. 1994. A value added manure management system
using the black soldier fly. Bioresour. Technol. 50:275–79
131. Silow CA. 1976. Edible and Other Insects of Mid-Western Zambia. Studies in Ethno-Entomology II. Stockholm:
Almqvist & Wiksell. 223 pp.
132. Silow CA. 1983. Notes on Ngangela and Nkoya Ethnozoology. Ants and Termites. Goeteborg, Swed.: Gote-
borgs Etnografiska Mus. 177 pp.
133. Simpanya MF, Allotey J, Mpuchane SF. 2000. A mycological investigation of phanen and edible grasshop-
per of an emperor moth, Imbrasia belina.J. Food Prot. 63:137–40
134. Smil V. 2002. Eating meat: evolution, patterns, and consequences. Popul. Dev. Rev. 28:599–639
135. Shows intensive
feeding of animals is
inefficient to produce
dietary protein and has
environmental and
health impacts.
135. Smil V. 2002. Worldwide transformation of diets, burdens of meat production and opportunities
for novel food proteins. Enzyme Microb. Technol. 30:305–11
136. St. Hilaire S, Cranfill K, Mcguire MA, Mosley EE, Tomberlin JK, et al. 2007. Fish offal recycling by
the black soldier fly produces a foodstuff high in omega-3 fatty acids. J. World Aquacult. Soc. 38:309–13
137. Assesses full
impact of livestock
sector on environmental
problems such as GHG.
137. Steinfeld H, Gerber P, Wassenaar T, Castel V, Rosales M, eds. 2006. Livestock’s Long Shadow:
Environmental Issues and Options. Rome: Food Agric. Organ. 319 pp.
138. Szelei J, Woodring J, Goettel MS, Duke G, Jousset FX, et al. 2011. Susceptibility of North-American
and European crickets to Acheta domesticus densovirus (AdDNV) and associated epizootics. J. Invertebr.
Pathol. 106:394–99
139. Tacon AGJ, Metian M. 2008. Global overview on the use of fish meal and fish oil in industrially com-
pounded aquafeeds: trends and future prospects. Aquaculture 285:146–58
140. Teguia A, Beynen AC. 2005. Alternative feedstuffs for broilers in Cameroon. Livestock Research for Rural
Development 17:34.
141. Tilman D, Balzer C, Hill J, Befort BL. 2011. Global food demand and the sustainable intensification of
agriculture. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 108:20260–64
142. Tomley FM, Shirley MW. 2009. Livestock infectious diseases and zoonoses. Philos. Trans. R. Soc. B.
143. Trostle R. 2008. Global agricultural supply and demand: factors contributing to the recent increase in
food commodity prices. Econ. Res. Serv. Rep. WRS-0801, pp. 1–30. US Dep. Agric., Washington, DC.
July 2008 rev.
144. van Huis A. 2003. Insects as food in sub-Saharan Africa. Insect Sci. Appl. 23:163–85
145. Van Itterbeeck J, van Huis A. 2012. Environmental manipulation for edible insect procurement: a his-
torical perspective. J. Ethnobiol. Ethnomed. 8:1–19
146. Van Mele P. 2008. A historical review of research on the weaver ant Oecophylla in biological control.
Agric. For. Entomol. 10:13–22
147. Vantomme P, G¨
ohler D, N’Deckere-Ziangba F. 2004. Contribution of forest insects to food security
and forest conservation: the example of caterpillars in Central Africa. Odi Wildl. Policy Brief. 3:1–4
148. Wang D, Bai Y-T, Li J-H, Zhang C-X. 2004. Nutritional value of the field cricket (Gryllus testaceus
Walker). J. Entomol. Sin. 11:275–83
149. Wang D, Zhai S-W, Zhang CX, Zhang Q, Chena H. 2007. Nutrition value of the Chinese grasshopper
Acrida cinerea (Thunberg) for broilers. Anim. Feed Sci. Technol. 135:66–74
150. Wijayasinghe MS, Rajaguru ASB. 2007. Use of silkworm (Bombyx mori L.) pupae as supplement in poultry
rations. J. Natl. Sci. Counc. Sri Lanka 5:95–104
582 van Huis
Annu. Rev. Entomol. 2013.58:563-583. Downloaded from
by on 01/15/13. For personal use only.
EN58CH28-vanHuis ARI 28 November 2012 16:17
151. Xia W, Liu P, Zhang J, Chen J. 2011. Biological activities of chitosan and chitooligosaccharides. Food
Hydrocoll. 25:170–79
152. Yen AL. 2009. Entomophagy and insect conservation: some thoughts for digestion. J. Insect Conserv.
153. Yhoung-Aree J, Puwastien P, Attig GA. 1997. Edible insects in Thailand: an unconventional protein
source? Ecol. Food Nutr. 36:133–49
154. Yhoung-Aree J, Viwatpanich K. 2005. Edible insects in the Laos PDR, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam.
See Ref. 115, pp. 415–40
155. Zuidhof MJ, Molnar CL, Morley FM, Wray TL, Robinson FE, et al. 2003. Nutritive value of house fly
(Musca domestica) larvae as a feed supplement for turkey poults. Anim. Feed Sci. Technol. 105:225–30 Insects as Food/Feed to Assure Food Security 583
Annu. Rev. Entomol. 2013.58:563-583. Downloaded from
by on 01/15/13. For personal use only.
... In the U.S., livestock creates 55% of freshwater erosion, 37% pesticide pollution, and 50% antibiotic pollution (Bao and Song 2022). Additionally, GHG emissions from livestock production which includes the transport of cattle and feed represent roughly 18% of global human-caused GHG emissions (Huis 2012). Methane (CH4) is produced by enteric fermentation, which accounts for 31% of global emissions; nitrous oxide (N2O) is released mostly through feed crop fertilizer and manure, which accounts for 65% of total emissions. ...
... Methane (CH4) is produced by enteric fermentation, which accounts for 31% of global emissions; nitrous oxide (N2O) is released mostly through feed crop fertilizer and manure, which accounts for 65% of total emissions. Several studies have reported that the environmental impact of one kilogram of beef is the largest when evaluated in CO2 equivalents (14.8 kg), followed by that of one kilogram of pork (3.8 kg), and then that of one kilogram of chicken (1.1 kg) (Huis 2012). The feed conversion ratio (FCR) for conventional meat sources is also relatively higher. ...
... Regarding FCR, studies suggest that the FCR efficiency of crickets is greater than traditional meat sources. For example, Cricket's FCR is 10 times more than beef (Naseem et al. 2021;Huis 2012). ...
Full-text available
Alternative proteins are mostly sought after because they are more sustainable than conventional protein sources. Prioritizing efforts to create more sustainable alternatives to animal proteins help to address the world's food scarcity and climate change issues. Edible insects in human foods and animal feeds is deemed to play a key role in future sustainable initiatives. In comparison to plant proteins, insect proteins have a higher total protein concentration and good amino acid composition. Due to their substantial levels of high-quality protein and other nutrients, they are considered superior to animal proteins. The market for insect protein is expected to grow significantly between 2022 and 2030, according to various forecasts. In particular, this review explains in detail the most recent developments in the insect protein space. This review assesses the current state of insects as an alternative protein source from production to application and also discusses on associated consumer acceptance. Overall, insect protein products appear to be a good substitute for traditional protein-rich products while lowering greenhouse gas emissions and it can also be a good way to deal with a protein supply deficit. Although, more research studies are needed to further explore its effect on digestibility, product performance, product quality, and health.
... The degree of rejection is related to dislike or disgust, and to a belief that their consumption is associated with cultures from distant and generally low-income countries [17,24]. The refusal to consume insects is based on cultural reasons, since they are considered unpleasant and, in some cases, harmful, or on doubts about the feasibility and viability of farming them safely [24,25]. ...
... Social and cultural norms are also factors that determine food customs and the incorporation of foods [53]. Social acceptance is a significant predictor of the willingness to eat insects, since entomophagy is deemed a primitive practice [25,48] or a source of nutrients in times of economic scarcity [57]. In this study, however, neither the consideration of insect eating as a primitive practice nor the relationship to low economic resources appeared to be important barriers to consumption. ...
Full-text available
In recent years in Western Europe, studies on entomophagy have drawn the attention of many researchers interested in identifying parameters that could improve the acceptability of insect consumption in order to introduce insects as a sustainable source of protein into the future diet. Analysing the factors involved in consumer acceptability in the Mediterranean area could help to improve their future acceptance. A cross-sectional study was conducted using an ad-hoc questionnaire in which 1034 consumers participated. The questionnaire responses allowed us to study the areas relevant to acceptance: neophobia, social norms, familiarity, experiences of consumption and knowledge of benefits. Only 13.15% of participants had tried insects. Disgust, lack of custom and food safety were the main reasons for avoiding insect consumption. Consequently, preparations with an appetising appearance need to be offered, with flours being the most accepted format. The 40–59-year-old age group was the one most willing to consume them. To introduce edible insects as food in the future, it is important to inform people about their health, environmental and economic benefits because that could increase their willingness to include them in their diet.
... A logistic regression was further conducted to examine the impact. Religion has an impact on the consumption of edible insects, a finding that corresponds with results carried out by van Huis et al. 2013. Christianity however had no impact on the consumption of edible insects, whereas Islam had a significant impact. ...
... In line with the results from the current study, Chakravorty et al. 2013 andvan Huis et al. 2013 found that religion greatly impacts personal views on insect consumption. Various religions have differing opinions when it comes to insect consumption. ...
Full-text available
Global food demand is expected to rise due to the population increase estimated to reach 9.5 billion by the year 2050. As a result, the available natural resources such as water sources and land will become scarce and overused. Indisputably, other sustainable food resources need to be identified and practised to solve the problem of food inadequacy. The world population will be encouraged to eat less consumed food resources. Edible insects have been identified as sustainable food resource that is rich in protein and other nutrients. Even though it is still facing rejection among certain consumers due to unknown reasons, factors influencing entomophagy have now been studied from different angles of the world communities. A descriptive research design with both qualitative and quantitative methodology was employed, using a semi-structured questionnaire loaded in an Open Data Kit (ODK) Collect software. Additionally, a simple random sampling technique was used to measure the following constructs. Demographics, religiosity on the consumption of insects, contrasting beliefs among the selected religious societies on edible insects’ consumption. There was an association between religious restriction and the consumption of edible insects at a P-value less than 0.05. However, it is unclear why individuals from religious groupings would choose not to consume insects while others condone the practice. The eating of insects is cited in religious doctrines. Nonetheless, there is still low consumption of edible insects among different religious believers. Religiosity has deterred individuals from indulging in certain food items. How comes they do not indulge in what their doctrines recommend? We, therefore, wish to find out why religion has not encouraged persons to adopt entomophagy. This study, therefore, seeks to examine the influence of religiosity on the consumption and uptake of edible insects among the selected communities in Western Kenya. The data for this study will be collected through the administration of a well-formulated electronic questionnaire and multivariate qualitative models
... As a result, novel sources of protein such as algae, yeast, and insects were introduced in aquafeed ( Albrektsen et al., 2022). Among these, insect meal has received widespread interest due to its low carbon footprint (Huis, 2013), favourable nutritional profile, and high protein digestibility (Rodríguez-Rodríguez et al., 2022). ...
Full-text available
In vitro and in vivo methods were used to evaluate amino acids solubility of black soldier fly (BSF) larvae meal and two experimental diets (reference and test diets) for Atlantic salmon. The current study used in vitro method such as pH stat to compare and standardise the salmon extracted enzyme (SE), and commercial enzyme (CE) based on their hydrolytic capacity on a purified protein substrate. Further, an in vitro amino acid solubility of feed ingredients and diets were measured using the standardised enzyme volume from SE and CE. Results showed that SE and CE exhibit similar protein hydrolytic capacity upon standardisation on purified substrates. However, when using the two-stage hydrolysis (acidic and alkaline steps), significantly higher amino acid solubility was observed with CE except for glycine, and proline which were equally solubilised by both SE, and CE. No significant difference was observed between reference and test diet using the SE except for tyrosine, valine, leucine, and phenylalanine, which were significantly higher solubilised in reference diet than test diet. Whereas higher solubility of valine, isoleucine, aspartic acid, and glutamic acid was observed in test diet using CE than SE. Similarly, the solubility of valine, isoleucine, and glutamic acid were higher in BSF larvae meal when CE was used. The in vivo true protein digestibility of BSF larvae meal was 99%, and 81% for the test diet containing BSF larvae meal. The results demonstrated a positive correlation (r = 0.91; p < 0.01) between salmon and commercial enzymes but overall, no significant correlation was observed for amino acid solubility between in vivo and in vitro. However, there was a strong positive correlation for protein solubility using SE (r = 0.98) than CE (r = 0.74) with the in vivo true protein digestibility. The efficiency of SE, and CE can be compared, and standardised based on DH%, and hence correlates better with the in vivo protein digestibility but not with amino acid solubilities.
... They are widely described as a good source of valuable nutritional protein, fat and minerals, which in the face of the FAO/WHO projected population growth to 9 billion in 2050 (FAO, 2012) can effectively counteract food shortages, both quantitative and qualitative. FAO and other global food research agencies (such as EFSA) recommend the inclusion of insects in our diets (EFSA, 2021;FAO, 2013;Van Huis, 2013). Insect consumption has a long tradition, but is particularly popular in Africa, Latin America and Australia (Ramos-Elorduy, 1997). ...
Despite the widely described high nutritional value of insects, many authors suggest significant differences in the nutrient content depending on the breeding conditions, preparation methods, or even geographical origin. To date, there is no reports on the technological and physical properties of cricket powder (CP). This article describes the properties of 3 CPs of various geographic origins. The oil-absorption, water-binding, foaming capacities and foam stability were analysed. Thermal changes by DSC, water behaviour by LF-NMR and FTIR analysis were performed as well. On the obtained results, it was found that all analysed cricket powders were characterized by a high content of protein and fat. The geographical origin did not affect oil absorption, while the differences were recorded for waterbinding. No foaming properties were observed in any of CPs. Thermal analysis showed the beginning of protein degradation at temperatures above 110 °C. Despite the differences in the water behaviour of dry CPs, no significant changes in hydrated CPs were observed. On the basis of the obtained results, it was found that the geographic origin of cricket powder will not affect the differences in technological properties, and thus the application of CP as an additive increasing the nutritional value can be widely used.
The use of insects recently emerged as an alternative source of high-quality animal protein for both animal and human food supplementation use with lower environmental impact. Recent evidence indicates that an insect-based diet provides an improved animal production mass gain and showed benefits for human health. The present study evaluated the dietary supplementation effect of the Tenebrio molitor fermented and wholemeal flour on the metabolism of diet-induced obese mice. Male Swiss mice were divided into 4 groups treated for 4 weeks as follows: standard diet, high-fat diet, high-fat diet + wholemeal flour and high-fat diet + fermented flour. The 15% wholemeal or fermented flour were added to the diet. Several parameters such as food/energy intake, body weight, adipose tissue weight, biochemical levels, adipose tissue histology and mRNA expression were evaluated. The main results showed that the inclusion of wholemeal and fermented T. molitor flour induced body weight loss, adiposity reduction and specific changes in biochemical and histological parameters. In addition, was observed significant changes in lipogenic gene expression. The insect flour negatively modulated the expression of the SREBP1α, CEBP1α, FAS, ACC gene and positively modulated PGC1α. In conclusion, the main findings showed the T. molitor flour potential use to improve dyslipidaemia and adiposity with beneficial effects on metabolic diseases.
Full-text available
Chitosan is a versatile biopolymer due to its biocompatibility, biodegradability, antimicrobial, non-toxic, mucoadhesive, and highly adsorptive properties. Chitosan and its derivatives have been used for many biomedical applications. Currently, crustacean shells and other marine organisms are the significant sources of chitin/chitosan production worldwide. However, extraction from marine sources presents several challenges, including an unstable supply of raw materials. Large-scale chitosan extraction from crustacean sources harms the environment by involving harsh processing steps such as alkali deproteinization. Recently many studies have been carried out focusing on alternative sources or eco-friendlier routes for production of chitosan. This paper briefly overviews recent studies on fungi and insect cuticles as alternative chitosan sources. Milder extraction processes for fungal chitosan and the superior quality of the resultant polymer make it highly desirable for biological applications. Biological techniques involving fermentation and enzymatic processing of the raw materials are looked at in detail. In the concluding remarks, the paper highlights the potential of using a combination of "green" technologies and briefly looks at potential biological/biomedical applications of extracted chitinous materials.
Insects comprise the majority of described living species (including single-celled organisms), and the vast majority of animal species. Throughout their 440 MY history, key innovations contributed to insects’ evolutionary success, including locomotion (e.g., flight), feeding morphology, their lifecycle (e.g., true metamorphosis), and social behavior. Misplaced negative perceptions towards insects does a disservice to their enormous economic and agricultural importance. Insects also have a huge ecological impact as members of nearly all biomes, at nearly all trophic levels. Unfortunately, many insect populations are in danger of collapse.
Full-text available
Insects present great potential for the food industry due to their easier rearing conditions and high nutritional value, in comparison with traditional livestock. However, there is a lack of evaluation of the technological status of food products developed with edible insects. Therefore, this study aims to analyze the emergent technological and scientific applications of edible insects in the food industry through a prospective study of patent documents and research articles. Espacenet was used as a research tool, applying the terms Insect, Pupa, Larva, or Nymph and the codes A23L33 and A23V2002. A total of 1139 documents were found—341 were related to the study. Orbit® was used to evaluate technological domains and clusters of concepts. Scopus database research was performed to assess the prevalence of insect research, with the term “edible and insect*”. The main insects used were silkworms, bees, beetles, mealworms, crickets, and cicadas. Protein isolates were the predominant technology, as they function as an ingredient in food products or supplements. A diverse application possibility for insects was found due to their nutritional composition. The insect market is expected to increase significantly in the next years, representing an opportunity to develop novel high-quality/sustainable products.
Full-text available
Some countries produce cochineal in the open in order to obtain carminic acid as a natural red dye. In México, this is done on protected cut cladodes because of the environmental conditions, natural enemies, and competitors. This results in a disadvantage when compared to production in other countries. For this reason, prickly pear plants found in the open and protected in two types of microtunnel greenhouses were infested. Fresh and dry weight, carminic acid content, length of the biological cycle, the presence of natural enemies of the cochineal, as well as the resistance of the plant in various cycles were evaluated. The microtunnel made of transparent plastic was the best treatment to produce cochineal. The plants in this microtunnel resisted three cycles, the ones in the green raffia canvas resisted two cycles. The length of the biological cycle decreased when the temperature increased and was lower in the greenhouses than in the open. The carminic acid content ranged between 19.4 and 22.9%. The predators of Dactylopius coccus found were Baccha sp., Laetilia coccidivora Comstock, Hyperaspis trifurcate Shaeffer, Sympherobius sp. and the competitor Dactylopius opuntiae Cockerell.
This study demonstrated that it is technically feasible to mass produce insects for human consumption by industrial methods. A semi-continuous process was developed, based on the use of a single, batch-fed plug flow reactor and three basic unit operations. In the process, the reactor performed four major functions, corresponding to the four streams: feed conditioning, feed conversion, dormant stage incubation (eggs, pupae), and propagation (egg production). The rocess consists of two major 'cycles' conversion and propagation, and the variables linking these are suitable for process control. The three-unit operations are sifting, air classification and solids mixing. Several foods were prepared with the product paper: bread, spaghetti sauce and hot dog wieners.
This chapter discusses insects as foods. The insects used as food are, for the most part, clean living in their choice of food and habitat. Most feed on leaves or other parts of plants. Some of the coleopterous and lepidopterous larvae are woodborers in either dead or living trees and bushes; some, such as cicada nymphs, feed on plant roots. Some hemipterans and coleopterans are aquatic, and some of these and other edible insects are predaceous. Some hymenopterans such as wasp's provision their nests with insect prey upon which the young feed. Some edible species have other aesthetic qualities. Some African termites are architects, erecting earthen cathedral-like termitaria that may rise to heights of 3 or 4 m or more. Cicadas and crickets are songsters. There are many environmental and ecological ramifications relevant to the use of insects as food. Because of the large number of insect species and the consequently wide variety of plants used as hosts, in general, insects are potentially capable of converting a much wider range of vegetation and waste substances into animal biomass than are the animals currently considered acceptable as food by Western cultures.
A survey of arthropods used in traditional medicine was carried out among the people of southwestern Nigeria to examine the importance of arthropods and their by products in life and economy of the people and to provide a compendium of the traditional use of arthropods and their byproducts for future references. Open ended structured questionnaires were administered to elicit information from the rural based herbalists, farmers and those traders in animals for traditional purposes. Seventeen different species of insecta, two species of Myriapoda, one species of Crustacea, one species of Arachinda and three species of Mollusca used in the curing of ailments such as eye defects, various sickness in children, libido in men, arthritis, dizziness, thunderbolt, bedwetting, wounds, mental illness, child delivery, yellow fever, healing of bone fractures etc. Nine species of insects, two species of arachinda, one species of myriapoda and two species of Mollusca were used for rituals such as for defense, coronation, chieftaincy, wedding and naming ceremonies, good fortune, to fight against enemy and favour, forceful command and blessing and detection of thunderbolt (Magun) and for finding, husband and wife, appealing to gods and witches, soothsaying (Afose), to invoke mental development on people and money rituals, appealing to witches for spiritual protection and prosperity, used to confer immunity on man against infectious disease. Few species of insects in particular has some taboo associated with the use in traditional medicine. The results suggest that more research should be done in this area to bring back the ethnozoological knowledge of vanishing culture.
People in urban areas of Thailand are facing overnutrition, while those in rural areas suffer from undernutrition, especially protein-energy malnutrition (PEM). In rural communities of Northern and Northeastern Thailand, where over half of the Thai population reside, sociocultural and economic limitations often obstruct the use of more common protein sources such as pork, beef, poultry, milk and eggs. Alternatively, edible insects are readily available and commonly eaten by rural people and can thus serve as an important protein source. In Thailand, over 50 species of insects are edible and can be consumed throughout the year. The most popular are silk worm pupae, bamboo worms, locusts, beetles, crickets, red ants, and other insects. These insects and others require certain collection methods; for example locusts, crickets and other types of insects are collected by using a light to lure them into nets. While these insects are commonly eaten, data on their nutritive values are scarce, though some information is available concerning proximate composition, minerals and vitamins of the most common edible insects. All insects are good sources of protein and minerals with protein content varying between 7-21 grams per 100 grams edible portion. In addition, various cooking recipes can be used, depending on the type of insect, to enhance acceptability. For instance, roasting is used for crickets and beetles, whereas locusts are fried. Most precooked insects are also used as ingredients for other dishes including chili paste and salads. Fried locusts, crickets and bamboo worms in particular are well-accepted not only by rural residents but also urban people.