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Edible insects have been proposed as a good source of different nutrients including protein. However, the nutritional value of edible insects could be affected by several factors that must be considered in order to enhance their potential application in food. In this work, the effect of feeding two different diets, alfalfa and maize green fodder, on the chemical composition of edible grasshopper (Sphenarium purpurascens) consumed in Mexico was assessed. The dry matter, crude protein content, amino acid profile, in vitro protein digestibility, crude fat, and insoluble fiber content differed significantly between grasshoppers fed with alfalfa and maize (p-value < 0.05). Grasshoppers fed with alfalfa showed an increment of 10% in essential amino acid index and biological value compared to grasshopper fed with maize green fodder. Our results demonstrate that the nutritional composition of edible grasshopper S. purpurascens can be modified through diet resulting in an increase in its nutritional value.
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CyTA - Journal of Food
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Nutritional content of edible grasshopper
(Sphenarium purpurascens) fed on alfalfa (Medicago
sativa) and maize (Zea mays)
Celeste C. Ibarra-Herrera, Beatriz Acosta-Estrada, Cristina Chuck-Hernández,
Sayra N. Serrano-Sandoval, Daniela Guardado-Félix & Esther Pérez-Carrillo
To cite this article: Celeste C. Ibarra-Herrera, Beatriz Acosta-Estrada, Cristina Chuck-Hernández,
Sayra N. Serrano-Sandoval, Daniela Guardado-Félix & Esther Pérez-Carrillo (2020) Nutritional
content of edible grasshopper (Sphenarium�purpurascens) fed on alfalfa (Medicago�sativa) and
maize (Zea�mays), CyTA - Journal of Food, 18:1, 257-263, DOI: 10.1080/19476337.2020.1746833
To link to this article:
© 2020 The Author(s). Published with
license by Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.
Published online: 10 Apr 2020.
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Nutritional content of edible grasshopper (Sphenarium purpurascens) fed on
alfalfa (Medicago sativa) and maize (Zea mays)
Celeste C. Ibarra-Herrera
, Beatriz Acosta-Estrada
, Cristina Chuck-Hernández
, Sayra N. Serrano-Sandoval
Daniela Guardado-Félix
and Esther Pérez-Carrillo
Tecnologico de Monterrey, Escuela de Ingeniería y Ciencias, Campus Puebla, México;
Tecnologico de Monterrey, Escuela de Ingeniería y
Ciencias, Centro de Biotecnología-FEMSA, Monterrey, México;
Facultad de Ciencias Químico-Biológicas, Universidad Autónoma de Sinaloa,
Culiacán, Mexico
Edible insects have been proposed as a good source of different nutrients including protein. However,
the nutritional value of edible insects could be affected by several factors that must be considered in
order to enhance their potential application in food. In this work, the effect of feeding two different
diets, alfalfa and maize green fodder, on the chemical composition of edible grasshopper (Sphenarium
purpurascens) consumed in Mexico was assessed. The dry matter, crude protein content, amino acid
profile, in vitro protein digestibility, crude fat, and insoluble fiber content differed significantly between
grasshoppers fed with alfalfa and maize (p-value < 0.05). Grasshoppers fed with alfalfa showed an
increment of10% in essential amino acid index and biological value compared to grasshopper fed with
maize green fodder. Our results demonstrate that the nutritional composition of edible grasshopper
S. purpurascens can be modified through diet resulting in an increase in its nutritional value.
Contenido nutricional de chapulín comestible (Sphenarium purpurascens)
alimentado con alfalfa (Medicago sativa) y maíz (Zea mays)
Los insectos comestibles son considerados una gran fuente de nutrientes. Sin embargo, la composición
nutricional de los insectos comestibles puede verse afectada por diferentes factores que deben ser
considerados para aumentar su consumo. En este trabajo, se revisó el efecto de dos diferentes dietas, alfalfa
y forraje de maíz, en la composición nutricional del chapulín comestible (Sphenarium purpurascens)
consumido en México. Se obtuvieron valores significativamente diferentes (valor p< 0.05) en el contenido
de proteína, el perfil de aminoácidos, la digestibilidad de proteína in vitro, y en el contenido de grasa y de
fibra insoluble. El chapulín alimentado con alfalfa mostró un incremento del 10% en el índice de
aminoácidosesencialesyelvalor biológico comparado con el chapulín alimentado con maíz. Estos
resultados indican que la composición nutricional de chapulín S. purpurascens puede ser modificada
a través de la dieta para obtener un mayor valor nutricional en este alimento.
Received 3 December 2019
Accepted 12 March 2020
Grasshopper; edible insect;
diet; nutritional value
Chapulín; insecto
comestible; dieta; valor
1. Introduction
The interest in edible insects in the last few decades has rapidly
increased. They are considered as promising candidates for food
production due to their highly efficient metabolism, short gen-
eration times, generation of lower amounts of greenhouse gases,
low water consumption and as a healthy source of food (Wegier
et al., 2018). In different regions of the world including Africa,
Latin America, and Asia, insects have been consumed for centu-
ries (Bukkens, 1997). In Mexico, the edible grasshoppers
(Shenarium purpurascens, Pyrgomorphidae family, Orthoptera
order) have been consumed traditionally as condiment, snack,
or main gourmet dish. Grasshoppers were considered as dama-
ging pests for diverse crops, farmers either collect them for sale as
food or as fried snacks (Cerritos & Cano-Santana, 2008). Typically,
the grasshoppers are collected during the rainy season in early
winter mainly from fields planted with beans, maize, and alfalfa.
Although insects seem to be one of the most attractive
options for human consumption, the acceptance of the insects
as food is influenced by several factors such as sensory
properties, social environment, personal beliefs, contamination
risks, amongst others (Menozzi et al., 2017;Zielińska et al.,
2015). Different studies have reported analysis of macronutri-
ents, amino acid profile, protein content, lipids, vitamins, and
techno-functional properties of various insects (González et al.,
2019; Ramos-Elorduy et al., 2012; Schmidt et al., 2019;Soaresde
Castro et al., 2018; Torruco-Uco et al., 2019;Zielińska et al.,
2018). In this context, different biomolecules contained in
edible insects have been studied to demonstrate the health
benefits of insect consumption or its specific use. Specifically,
several authors have reported protein content in a range from
43.9% to 77.1% for different species of grasshoppers and crick-
ets (Ramos-Elorduy et al., 2012; Rutaro et al., 2018; Rutaro et al.,
2018;Rutaroetal.,2018;Ssepuuyaetal.,2016; Torruco-Uco
et al., 2019;Zielińska et al., 2015). These investigations affirm
that these insects have potential as food due to their high
content of protein, and in some cases, edible insects satisfy
the level of essential amino acids recommended by FAO
(Nowak et al., 2016;Zielińska et al., 2015). For this reason,
CONTACT Celeste C. Ibarra-Herrera Tecnologico De Monterrey, Escuela De Ingeniería Y Ciencias, Campus Puebla, Vía Atlixcáyotl 5718,
Reserva Territorial Atlixcáyotl, Puebla, Pue. CP 72453, México
© 2020 The Author(s). Published with license by Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use,
distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
2020, VOL. 18, NO. 1, 257263
insects can be used as a source of protein. In the case of fiber
content, Zielińska et al. (2015) reported low fiber content in
edible insects, a higher percentage of 3.65% found in Grillodes
sigillatus and the lowest (1.97%) found in Tenebrio molitor.
Chitin is the most common form of insoluble fiber in insects
contained mainly in the exoskeleton. It is considered indiges-
tible fiber composed of β-1,4-linked 2-acetamido-2-deoxy-
d-glucose, it is the second most abundant polymer in nature
and it is present in a range from 11.6 to 137.2 mg per kg of dry
matter (Finke, 2007). Chitin has proven to be beneficial for
human health because it is a good source of insoluble fiber
with potential prebiotic properties although the prebiotic
mechanism in the intestine is not as yet well understood
(Stull et al., 2018). On the other hand, some studies of larvae
of T. molitor have shown that they exhibit different polyunsa-
turated fatty acid composition, which is beneficial to human
health (Paul et al., 2017;Raksakantongetal.,2010). Therefore,
several biomolecules contained in insects are of interest to
researchers for different applications.
It has been shown that the chemical composition of insects can
be modified by diverse factors including sex, environmental factors
(temperature, day length, humidity, light intensity), stage of life, and
diet (Haber et al., 2019;Kulmaetal.,2019; Lehtovaara et al., 2017;
Rutaro et al., 2018). Therefore, each potential application or use of an
edible insect must be analyzed considering a specific context. In this
context, it is commonly known in the Central and South of Mexico
that there is a difference in the taste between grasshoppers hatched
from alfalfa fields and those from maize fields, grasshoppers from
alfalfa field have a sweetener taste while those from maize fields
have a slightly bitter taste (Cohen et al., 2009). This change in taste
could be related to changes in their composition affected by diet.
However, the effect of feeding alfalfa and maize on the chemical
composition and nutritional value of edible grasshoppers has not
been explored. Therefore, the objective of this study was to elucidate
whether there is a difference in the nutritional composition of grass-
hoppers fed with two different crops, alfalfa and maize green fodder.
Grasshopper samples were analyzed for their proximal composition,
in vitro protein digestibility, chitin content, amino acid profile, and
mineral composition.
2. Materials and methods
We collected individual grasshoppers (Sphenarium purpurascens)
hatched at the same season from two different fields, alfalfa and
maize in Acajete, Puebla (parallels 19° 00ʹ30and 19° 11ʹ06of
north latitude and meridians 97° 53ʹ54and 98° 00ʹ00of
western longitude). Around 250 g of grasshoppers per each
sample were processed. The average size of the grasshopper
was 2.4 cm. Both batches were collected early hours of the
same day and processed 2 h later. The samples were frozen at
80°C and freeze-dried for further use.
2.1. Chemical composition
Chemical analyses were performed using AOAC (2000)methods.
Moisture, crude protein, crude fat, and ash were obtained accord-
ing to the approved AOAC methods 925.09, 920.87, 945.38 F, and
923.03, respectively. Dietary fibers (soluble and insoluble) were
performed using the commercial kits of Megazyme (AOAC
method 996.11, AACC method 7631.01, and AOAC method
2002.02, respectively). Chitin was estimated following the method
of Black and Schwartz (1950) with few modifications reported by
González et al. (2019). Briefly, samples (500 mg) were treated with
10 mL of 1 M HCl at 85°C for 50 min under constant stirring. Then,
the samples were centrifuged at 3000 x g for 5 min and washed
with distilled water to remove the excess of HCl. Sediment from
at 90°C for 35 min under constant stirring to remove proteins
completely. The mixture was vacuum filtrated in a Buchner funnel
with filter paper (pore size 2025 μm), washed three times with
deionized water to remove the excess of NaOH, and dried at 100°
C overnight. The residue obtained was designated as a purified
insect chitin in the form of a very light brown powder, whose
mass was estimated by gravimetry.
2.2. Mineral determination
Mineral composition of samples was done in two steps: (1) acid
digestion of samples and (2) inductively coupled plasma mass
spectrometry (ICP/MS) analysis. For the acid microwave-assisted
digestion of insects, 0.5 g sample was mixed with 10 mL of HNO
77% (v/v). The resulting mixture was placed in a closed microwave
system (Mars 5 CEM, Matthews, NC, USA) executing the following
the program sequence: the temperature was increased from
room temperature to 180ºC during 15 min; maintained at 180ºC
for 10 min and then the temperature was lowered to 50ºC in
20 min. After digestion, the sample volume was adjusted to 20 mL
mineral content from acid digestion was measured using a Xseries
2 inductively coupled to a plasma mass spectrometer (ICP/MS)
(Thermo Scientific, Waltham, MA, USA) with a Type C glass con-
centric nebulizer (Meinhard, Golden, CO, USA). Helium containing
7% hydrogen was used as the reaction gas to prevent possible
interferences, and Ho and Tb were used as the internal standards.
2.3. In vitro protein digestibility
In vitro protein digestibility was performed using a multienzy-
matic technique (Hsu et al., 1977), using the following enzymes:
(1) pancreatic porcine trypsin type IX-S (T4799, Sigma Aldrich); (2)
α-chymotrypsin type II from bovine pancreas (C4129, Sigma
Aldrich); and (3) S. griseus protease type XIV (P5147, Sigma
Aldrich) which substituted peptidase from porcine intestinal
(Hervera et al., 2009).
2.4. Amino acid composition
Samples were defatted with hexane (1:4 w/v) in constant agita-
tion at 50ºC (Thermo Scientific SHKE5000, Massachusetts, USA)
during 12 h; the solvent was replaced every 6 h. Subsequently,
the defatted insect powder was air-dried at 35ºC overnight and
stored at 20ºC. Protein extraction was performed based on the
method for alkaline protein solubilization followed by acid pre-
cipitation (Föste et al., 2015) with some modifications (Mishyna
et al., 2019). The amino acid analysis of insects was evaluated by
the acid hydrolysis method (Chavan et al., 2001)withsome
modifications (Mohapatra et al., 2019). Samples containing 6 mg
of protein were hydrolyzed in a reflux glass-tube by adding
0.7 mL of 6 N HCl (0.1% v/v phenol). The tube was then placed
in a heating plate at 100°C for 60 h for hydrolysis completion.
Thereafter, the sample was diluted with 17 mL of HPLC-grade
water and dried in an evaporator. The remaining powder was
reconstituted in 2 mL of 20 mM HCl. Derivatization was con-
ducted by using a Waters AccQTag Ultra Derivatization Kit (cat.
186003836). Briefly, 20 µL of the sample and 60 µL of borate
buffer were vortexed for a few seconds. Then, 20 µL of AccQFlour
reagent was added to the mixture and incubated for 1 min. The
final mixture was kept in a heat block at 55°C for 10 min. Amino
acid quantification was performed in a Waters UPLC-FL system.
The separation of amino acids was carried out in an AccQTag
(3.9x150 mm) column (Waters, Ireland, UK) at a temperature of
30°C, and at a flow rate of 1 mL/min. Two microliters of sample
were injected and amino acids were detected using
a fluorescence detector (λexcitation/emission 250/395 nm).
Amino acid elution was performed by using a gradient method
created with two different mobile phases: A: 100% AccQTag Ultra
eluent A concentrate and B: 60% HPLC-grade acetonitrile. The
elution was carried out as follows: 00.5 min, from 0% to 2% B;
0.56min,from4%to6%B;610 min, from 6% to 10% B;
1020 min, from 10% to 34% B; 2022 min, from 34% to 100%
B; 2225 min, from 100% B isocratic elution; 2526 min, from
100% to 0% B; 2633 min, from 0% B isocratic elution. The EAAI
was obtained considering the following essential amino acids:
threonine, methionine, histidine, isoleucine, leucine, valine, and
phenylalanine and comparing with whole egg protein as stan-
dard (FAO, 1970). The essential amino acid index (EAAI) was
calculated using the method of Labuda et al. (1982). Biological
value (BV) was obtained using Equation (1) (Oser, 1959):
BV ¼1:09 EAAI 11:7 (1)
2.5. Statistical analysis
Each experiment was performed in triplicate. Data were
reported as mean ± standard deviations. Results were sub-
jected to analysis differences among means by t-student test
in Minitab18 (State College, PA, USA).
3. Results and discussion
Two samples of grasshoppers fed with different crops, alfalfa
(Medicago sativa) and maize green fodder (Zea mays), were
studied. Chemical analyses, chitin quantification, mineral
determination, amino acid composition, and in vitro protein
digestibility results are presented. Significant differences
(p-value < 0.05) among the means of samples were found
in the analyses for crude protein, insoluble dietary fiber and
fat contents, as well as in in vitro digestibility, and amino
acid profile of analyzed proteins.
3.1. Dietary fiber and chitin content
In Table 1 the proximal composition of grasshoppers fed
with alfalfa (ALF) or maize green fodder (MGF) is presented.
The content of insoluble dietary fiber (IDF) was 31.1% and
22.2%, for ALF and MGF samples, respectively, and differed
significantly (tdf = 9.97, p-value < 0.05). While soluble dietary
fiber (SDF) was found to be 0.70% and 0.93% for ALF and
MGF samples, respectively, with non-significant difference
(tdf = 0.26, p-value > 0.05). IDF mainly refers to cellulose,
hemicellulose, and lignin molecules, and in the case of
insects, it is thought to include chitin due to its similarity
in structure to cellulose (Finke, 2007). The observed differ-
ence in IDF between insects fed alfalfa and maize could be
related to differences in the contents of polysaccharides
between these foods. Alfalfa leaves contain 26.5-40% of
neutral detergent fiber (NDF) (OECD, 2005), whereas maize
leaves contain 63.6% of NDF (Heuzé et al., 2017). NDF
includes cellulose, hemicellulose, and lignin molecules.
Different compositions of NDF in alfalfa and maize leaves
and their digestibility might affect their content in grass-
hopper. However, further information on the carbohydrate
metabolism of S. purpurascens is needed in order to better
understand these differences.
For this work, chitin content is not influenced by diet of
the insect. There were no significant differences in chitin
content of grasshoppers fed with alfalfa (24.9%) and MGF
(21.5%) (tdf = 1.32, p-value >0.05, Table 1). These values
were higher than those reported for several species of grass-
hoppers (range of 5.3%-14%, for grasshopper Dociosaurus
aroccanus) (Erdogan & Kaya, 2016; Kaya et al., 2015). In this
study, chitin, which is the main component of insoluble
dietary fiber, represented up to 95% of the IDF of grass-
hopper samples fed with MGF and 75% of those fed with
ALF (Table 1). The high content of chitin in this grasshopper
suggests that it can be an alternative chitin source for sev-
eral applications (Erdogan & Kaya, 2016). Considering total
dietary fiber (TDF), there was a significant difference of
10.4% in the IDF content, this difference might correspond
to other molecules of IDF different from chitin.
3.2. Crude fat and ash content
Results of fat content presented a significant difference
(tdf = 6.48, p-value <0.05), 14.86% for ALF sample and
10.37% for MGF sample (Table 1). This range of values are
in concordance with those reported by several authors,
Ramos-Elorduy et al. (2012) found a similar value (10.8%)
Table 1. Chemical composition, chitin determination, in vitro protein digest-
ibility and protein indicators of grasshopper samples fed with alfalfa (ALF) or
maize green fodder (MGF) presented in g/100 g of dry weight.
Tabla 1. Composición química, determinación de quitina, digestibilidad de
proteína in vitro e indicadores de calidad proteica de las muestras de chapulín
alimentado con alfalfa (ALF) o forraje de maíz (MGF) en g/100 g de peso seco.
ALF sample
(% w/w)
MGF sample
(% w/w)
Chemical composition
Crude protein 60.07 ± 1.01
63.94 ± 1.51
Total dietary fiber (TDF) 31.81 ± 0.60
23.15 ± 0.07
Insoluble dietary fiber (IDF) 31.15 ± 0.81
22.21 ± 0.97
Soluble dietary fiber (SDF) 0.70 ± 0.24
0.93 ± 1.03
Crude fat 14.86 ± 0.95
10.37 ± 0.25
Ashes 4.05 ± 0.06
4.08 ± 0.04
Chitin analysis
Chitin 24.89 ± 3.39
21.51 ± 1.23
% of chitin of IDF content 75.5 95.7
Digestibility analysis
In vitro protein digestibility (%) 90.01 ± 0.12
87.92 ± 0.25
Protein indicators
Sum of EAA 300.86
Sum of NAA 664.81
EAAI (%) 75.19
BV (%) 70.75 60.12
: data within the same row are significantly different (p-value < 0.05).
: data within the same row are significantly different (p-value < 0.10).
EAA: essential amino acid
NAA: non-essential amino acid
EAAI: essential amino acid index
BV: biological value
: valores en la misma línea son significativamente diferentes (valor
p< 0.05).
: valores en la misma línea son significativamente diferentes (valor
p< 0.10).
EAA: aminoácidos esenciales
NAA: aminoácidos no esenciales
EAAI: índice de aminoácidos esenciales
BV: valor biológico
for S. purpurascens, while Melo-Ruiz et al. (2015) reported
6.02%, and Torruco-Uco et al. (2019) reported 8.98% for the
same grasshopper. According to these results, there was
a significant difference in fat content between grasshoppers
fed different diet. In the case of fat content, maize leaves and
alfalfa correspond to 2% and 2.43.8% of dry matter, respec-
tively (Goossen et al., 2018; Heuzé et al., 2017; Yari et al.,
2017). Besides, 78% of fatty acids found in alfalfa are unsa-
turated, and these include 58% of α-linolenic acid and 17.5%
of linoleic acid. Unsaturated fatty acids play an important
role in human health. For example, α-linolenic acid can
reduce inflammation during cardiovascular problems, pre-
vent blood clotting, and decrease triglyceride levels (Paul
et al., 2016). Therefore, a higher content in alfalfa could
result in higher accumulation of fatty acids in grasshoppers.
It has been reported grasshoppers have a desirable fat
composition when used as food source due to the high level
of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) (Paul et al., 2016;
Torruco-Uco et al., 2019). PUFA concentration of 69.3% for
S. purpurascens has been found, depicting a higher concen-
tration compared to 30.6% saturated fatty acids (Torruco-
Uco et al., 2019). Although the lipid content is relatively low
in S. purpurascens when compared with other species (e.g.,
R. differens) or food sources, the ability to provide a rich
content of unsaturated fatty acids (67-75%) over saturated
fatty acids (29-31%) (Hyun et al., 2012; Torruco-Uco et al.,
2019) makes it a possible source of high-quality oil.
Furthermore, a study on the influence of diet on fatty acid
content in grasshopper in East Africa concluded that the
fatty acid composition in R. differens can be influenced
through diet (Rutaro et al., 2018). Hence, further studies are
needed to determine the influence of diet on fat profile
composition in S. purpurascens.
Regarding ash content, values of 4.05% in alfalfa samples
and 4.08% in MGF samples were found, with a non-
significant difference (tdf = 0.62, p-value >0.05). These
values are in concordance with those previously reported
for S.purpurascens by other authors ranging from 1.42% to
4.87% (Ramos-Elorduy et al., 2012; Torruco-Uco et al., 2019).
3.3. Mineral composition
In Table 2 the results of mineral content are presented, and
nonsignificant differences (p-value >0.05) between samples
were found. The minerals with the higher content in both sam-
ples were K, Ca, and Mg, with values around 1018, 218, and
127 mg/100 g of sample, respectively. Minerals like Na, Zn, and
Fe presented values of 36, 17, and 15 mg/100 g of sample,
respectively, for both samples. According to these results, the
mineral content was not influenced by diet. Both samples of
grasshoppers presented high levels of nutritional valued minerals
such as Ca (higher than 125 mg/100 g found in milk), Se (similar to
0.038 mg/100 g found in beef bottom round steak), and Fe
(higher than 5.8 mg/100 g found in beef liver), representing an
alternative source of these minerals (ODS, 2020).
3.4. Protein analysis
The crude protein content of the MGF sample presented 63.9% (w/
w) dry basis, which is significantly higher value than that of the ALF
sample, which presented 60.0% (w/w) (tdf = 3.68, p-value <0.05).
These values are in concordance with those reported in the litera-
ture for a mixture of Acrididae ranging from 43.93% to 77.13% that
includes locusts, grasshopper, and crickets (Ramos-Elorduy et al.,
2012). Similarly, values of 53.57%, 65.2%, and 75.87% of protein
content were reported for Sphenarium purpuracens (Melo-Ruiz
et al., 2015;Ramos-Elorduyetal.,2012;Torruco-Ucoetal.,2019).
A higher content of protein in grasshopper was found as compared
to the protein content of other foods such as soybean (41.3%),
lentil (27.2%), beans (24.8%), and in the range of protein content of
beef (45.4%), chicken (58.8%) and eggs (47.7%) (FAO, 1970).
Intrinsic factors such as environment, origin, and stage of
the life cycle, as well as feeding of the insects, might affect the
insect protein content. These, along with extrinsic factors such
as the method used to determine protein content can affect
the estimation of protein. In the case of insects, an important
element in the composition that contains nitrogen is chitin,
which is part of the insoluble fiber present in the exoskeleton
of the insect. Therefore, chitin content must be considered in
the determination of protein content in order to not over-
estimate this value since Kjeldahl method, which determines
the total nitrogen content in the sample, was used to obtain
total protein. The results presented in Table 1 corresponding
to crude protein were corrected considering the presence of
chitin nitrogen (factor of conversion of 5.6).
Regarding the significant difference of 3.9% obtained
between ALF and MGF samples, it is important to consider
the different diet of grasshoppers. MGF is mainly composed of
stalks, leaves, and ears of the maize plant. Even when the
values of protein (between 15.3% and 25.8%) in alfalfa (OECD,
2005) are higher than that (11.4%) for the leaves of MGF
(Heuzé et al., 2017) grasshoppers fed with MGF presented
a higher content of crude protein. The results of this study
show that the diet of the insect has an impact on the content
of crude protein of the insect as initially hypothesized. Results
of amino acid profile and in vitro digestibility are further
presented in order to extend this discussion.
3.5. In vitro protein digestibility
The in vitro protein digestibility is presented in Table 1 and
resulted in 90.0% and 87.9% for ALF and MGF samples,
respectively. There was a significant difference (tdf = 10.29,
p-value < 0.05) between the samples. These values were
higher than those reported for grasshoppers S. purpurascens
and R. differens (85.4% and 85.67%, respectively)
(Aragón-García et al., 2018; Kinyuru et al., 2010). In vitro pro-
tein digestibility of meat and casein was found to be 89.65%
and 95.69%, respectively (Queiroz Mendes et al., 2016),
Table 2. Mineral composition of grasshopper fed with alfalfa (ALF) or maize
green fodder (MGF) presented in mg/100 g db.
Table 2. Composición mineral de chapulín alimentado con alfalfa (ALF)
oforraje de maíz (MGF) en mg/100 g de peso seco.
ALF sample MGF sample
(mg/100 g db)
Na 34.61 ± 1.66 37.54 ± 3.29
Mg 123.93 ± 10.64 131.33 ± 9.72
K 1028.80 ± 10.47 1007.40 ± 13.01
Ca 200.95 ± 39.10 235.15 ± 38.25
Cr 0.07 ± 0.00 0.08 ± 0.01
Mn 1.71 ± 0.10 1.74 ± 0.01
Fe 13.33 ± 1.69 18.29 ± 2.02
Co 0.03 ± 0.00 0.04 ± 0.00
Ni 0.43 ± 0.02 0.44 ± 0.02
Cu 2.98 ± 0.11 3.02 ± 0.04
Zn 17.84 ± 0.01 17.98 ± 2.29
Se 0.037 ± 0.01 0.039 ± 0.00
whereas soybean and chickpea flours depicted digestibility
values of 59.4% and 62.3%, respectively (Avilés-Gaxiola et al.,
2018). In this case, ALF and MGF samples presented an in vitro
protein digestibility similar to meat.
It has been reported that chitin is the main factor affect-
ing the in vitro protein digestibility since it is not absorbed in
the small intestine and interferes with net protein utilization
(Longvah et al., 2011; Marono et al., 2015). However, in this
case, a non-significant difference was found in chitin content
(Table 1), but a slight significant difference was obtained in
in vitro protein digestibility. This result might be related to
different structural components of the insect.
3.6. Amino acid profile
The amino acid profile of analyzed proteins is presented in
Figure 1, grasshopper fed with ALF and MGF in comparison
to the amino acid profile of whole hen egg (FAO, 1970)is
shown. Considering essential amino acids (EAA), threonine,
with a ratio of 1.12 and 1.0 (mg of amino acid found in the
sample divided by mg of amino acid in the reference) com-
pared with the same content of amino acid in egg, was
found in a higher level in ALF and MGF samples, respec-
tively. While phenylalanine (ratio of 0.96) in the ALF sample
was the second EAA found with similar levels than the
reference (see Figure 1). In the same way, the limiting EAA
is histidine with a ratio of 0.53 and 0.35, respectively, in ALF
and MGF samples. The rest of the essential amino acids were
found in a ratio range between 0.65 and 0.75.
Non-essential amino acids (NAA) found in a higher level
in the samples compared to their content in the whole egg
were tyrosine, aspartate, glycine, proline, alanine, and argi-
nine (with ratios ranging between 1.0 and 2.34) in ALF
sample. In the case of MGF sample, the same amino acids
were found in a higher level (with ratio in a range between
1.0 and 2.24), except for proline that presented the highest
ratio of 4.37. The NAA with lower content compared with the
reference is glutamate and serine in both samples (ratio
between 0.32 and 0.49). The amino acid profile compared
with the reference presented some differences mainly in
NAA contents.
The total content of EAA is 300.86, and 269.50 mg/g of
analyzed protein (see Table 1), in ALF and MGF samples, respec-
tively, where the grasshoppers fed with ALF resulted with a non-
significant higher content of EAA compared to those fed with
MGF (p-value >0.05). On the other hand, the sum of NAA is 664.81
respectively, with a non-significant difference (p-value >0.05).
However, the sum of EAA and NAA resulted in non-significant
differences, significant differences were found in the contents of
amino acids individually.
In Figure 1, amino acids with significant differences
(p-value <0.05) can be observed. Seven amino acids of
a total of 15 resulted in a significant difference between
the samples. Histidine (tdf = 6.19, p-value <0.05) and pheny-
lalanine (tdf = 8.56, p-value <0.05) are EAA, and the rest are
NAA. Phenylalanine was found with a value of 55.02 and
36.64 mg/g of analyzed protein in ALF and MGF samples;
and histidine with values of 12.99 and 8.71 mg/g of analyzed
protein in ALF and MGF samples. Meanwhile, aspartate
(tdf = 6.83, p-value <0.05) was found to be the most abun-
dant NAA with 196.3 and 156.09 mg/g of analyzed protein in
ALF and MGF samples, respectively. Second, a high content
of proline (tdf = 20.8, p-value <0.05) with values of 70.66
and 181.94 mg/g of analyzed protein in ALF and MGF sam-
ples was also observed. Another amino acid that presented
a high content was arginine (tdf = 4.94, p-value <0.05) with
a value of 103.2 and 80.24 mg/g of analyzed protein in ALF
and MGF samples. Then, glutamate (tdf = 9.48, p-value
<0.05) with values of 56.52 and 40.81 mg/g of analyzed
protein for ALF and MGF samples and glycine (tdf = 10.4,
p-value <0.05) with a value of 43.62 and 38.73 mg/g of
Figure 1. Amino acid profile of proteins analyzed from grasshopper fed with alfalfa or maize green fodder (MGF). The reference refers to the whole hen egg
(FAO, 1970). * Significant difference (p-value < 0.05).
Figura 1. Perfil de aminoácidos de las proteínas analizadas de chapulín alimentado con alfalfa o forraje de maíz. Se utilizó la información del huevo de gallina
como referencia (FAO, 1970). *Differencia significativa (valor p< 0.05).
analyzed protein in ALF and MGF samples were found with
significant differences.
These differences can be attributed to the diet of the
grasshopper. In the case of alfalfa leaves, amino acids such
as phenylalanine (up to 79.5 vs. 59 mg/g of protein), arginine
(up to 77 vs. 61 mg/g of protein), glycine (up to 73.5 vs.
55 mg/g of protein) and histidine (up to 37 vs. 23 mg/g of
protein) are contained in higher levels than reported in
maize leaves (Heuzé et al., 2017; OECD, 2005). Information
for the rest of amino acids, aspartate, proline, and glutamate
in maize leaves was not reported. According to these differ-
ences in the profile of amino acids which resulted with
higher values in the ALF sample, it is possible to see an
effect of the diet of the insect in its nutritional value.
The essential amino acid index (EAAI) values were calcu-
lated (see Table 1): 75.19% and 65.44% for ALF and MGF
samples, and resulted in a non-significant difference
between the samples (tdf = 3.08, p-value >0.05) with a p-va-
lue of 0.091. The value of the ALF sample was similar to
those previously reported (72-77%) for samples of house
cricket Acheta domestica (Kulma et al., 2019). In general,
values of EAAI between 70% and 90% are considered as
a useful source of protein. Additionally, the biological value
(BV) of the ALF sample is 70.75% and 60.12% in the MFG
sample. A good quality of the product is in the range of 70-
100%. Then, the grasshopper obtained from alfalfa fields
could be considered as a useful protein intake unlike the
MGF grasshopper.
4. Conclusion
The results in this study confirm that there is an effect of diet
on the chemical composition and nutritional value of grass-
hopper. Grasshoppers fed alfalfa presented a higher nutri-
tional value than those fed maize. The diet of grasshoppers
could be controlled to change their chemical composition
towards designing insect-based food with increased nutri-
tional value as alternative food. It is noteworthy to mention
that this is the first attempt in evaluating whether or not diet
affects the nutritional composition of grasshopper Sphenarium
purpurascens. More detailed studies of the diet effect on nutri-
tional components of edible insects must be performed.
The authors would like to thank the Nutriomics Focus Group of
Tecnologico de Monterrey at the FEMSA-Biotechnology Center and the
National Council on Science and Technology of Mexico (CONACyT).
Disclosure statement
No potential conflict of interest was reported by the authors.
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... One of the most attractive advantages of edible insects is their protein content, which ranges between 40% and 70% of dry matter in some edible insects such as the house cricket (Gryllodes sigillatus), Acheta domesticus, Tenebrio molitor, desert locust (Schistocerca gregaria), lesser mealworm (Alphitobius diaperinus), African migratory locust (Locusta migratoria), and silkworm (Bombyx mori), among others [6][7][8][9]. Other authors who evaluated different diets found that the protein content ranged from 36.7% (day 0) to 53.8% (day 4) when different percentages of laying hen feed were substituted with fish meal in Hermetia illucens [10][11][12]. The effects of the two diets (alfalfa and maize leaves) on Sphenarium purpurascens were evaluated in a previous study, and significant differences in composition were found. ...
... The effects of the two diets (alfalfa and maize leaves) on Sphenarium purpurascens were evaluated in a previous study, and significant differences in composition were found. The grasshoppers fed with alfalfa increased 10% in their essential amino acid index (EAAI) and biological value (BV) compared with the grasshoppers fed with maize leaves [10][11][12]. Nevertheless, even though this research was the first approach to the effect of diet on nutritional composition on grasshoppers, this study was not performed under controlled conditions. ...
... The protein content was analyzed by the micro Kjeldahl method according to AOAC method 920.87 using approximately 0.1 g of grasshopper flour. A conversion factor of 5.33 was used to avoid overestimation of the protein in the insects [11,19,20]. For the soy sprouts and maize leaves, 4.64 was used as a conversion factor [21]. ...
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In recent times, insects have gained attention because of their nutritional characteristics as well as the environmental advantages of their production. In this research, the effect of the diet of grasshoppers (Sphenarium purpurascens) under controlled conditions on their chemical and nutritional content was studied. The insects were divided into two groups: maize leaf-fed grasshoppers (MFG) and soy sprout-fed grasshoppers (SFG). To evaluate the changes in composition, chemical analysis (protein, fiber, fat, ashes, and chitin) was carried out in triplicate according to AOAC procedures, and a Student’s t-test was used to determine any significant differences. The results showed a higher content of crude protein, in vitro protein digestibility percentage, and sum of non-essential amino acids (NEAAs) in the MFG samples compared with the SFG samples. The total dietary fiber, insoluble dietary fiber, soluble dietary fiber, sum of the EAA, non-essential amino acid percentage (EAA%), and biological value percentage (BV%) were higher in the SFG than the MFG, while in the amino acid profile and chitin content, no significant differences were obtained, although an increase in oleic acid in the SFG was observed. In FTIR, a β-sheet appeared in the SFG, which could be related to the low in vitro protein digestibility. The use of a soy sprout diet caused changes in the chemical composition and nutritional content of grasshoppers. This represents an opportunity to improve their nutritional value for commercial interests.
... Adding up to 1.42 to 4.1 g ashes and giving a total energy of 1,736.28 kJ (Ibarra-Herrera et al., 2020;Kosečková et al., 2022;Melo Ruiz et al., 2015;Rodríguez-Miranda et al., 2019;Torruco-Uco et al., 2019). ...
... The results obtained agree to previous observations where an increase in the percentage of protein of B. mori (Park et al., 2017) and T. molitor (Choi et al., 2017b) in meat batters, and A. domesticus crickets in pork pate (Smarzyński et al., 2019). In addition, according to Ibarra-Herrera et al. (2020) the SP protein is considered highly digestible (85% to 90%) and comparable to meat (89.6%), as well as having concentrations of essential and NAAs comparable to egg. ...
... Ibarra-Herrera et al., 2020;Rodríguez-Miranda et al., 2019;Torruco-Uco et al., 2019). However, the protein content reported ...
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The most abundant Orthoptera in Mexico is a small grasshopper (Sphenarium purpurascens) which is considered a food source with increased nutritional value due to its high protein content. Insect proteins have gained relevance because of their high potential as gelling, texturing, and extender agents in the food industry. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of substituting meat with a soluble protein extract from grasshopper obtained by alkalisation or alkalisation-piezoelectric ultrasound, on the techno-functional, physicochemical, and sensory characteristics of cooked meat models (sausages). The soluble protein was extracted in NaHCO3 pH 8 and a piezoelectric ultrasound 5-mm sonotrode at 20 kHz with 99% amplitude. Different formulations with meat substitution: 0%, 5%, 10%, and 15% were prepared and characterised for their rheological behaviour, emulsion stability, weight loss by cooking, total protein content, colour, and texture. Sensory evaluation was conducted with consumers using a test involving check-all-that-apply and overall liking. The alkalisation-piezoelectric ultrasound method improved the solubility and the techno-functional properties of the soluble grasshopper protein when applied in sausages at maximum levels of 10% meat substitution. The sensory evaluation indicated that the formulation with 5% meat substitution exhibited the same acceptability as the control sample. Given these results, the soluble protein treated with alkalisation and piezoelectric ultrasound could be used as an extender in meat products.
... Insects are considered food products high in protein because they contain large amounts of essential amino acids. SF has a higher content of isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, cysteine, phenylalanine, tyrosine, threonine, valine and histidine than that of beef, pork, lamb, chicken, turkey or fish [7], which mean that its protein is highly bioavailable [13]. The protein content and fat of Sphenarium purpurascens is within the reported range by other authors that established 52.74-75.87 ...
... g protein and 6.02-11.0 g lipids/100 g dry matter for grasshoppers [7,[10][11][12][13]. In general, the order of Lepidoptera (caterpillars) and Orthoptera (grasshoppers, locusts, and crickets) are the ones that exhibit a major content of protein [30]. ...
... In general, the order of Lepidoptera (caterpillars) and Orthoptera (grasshoppers, locusts, and crickets) are the ones that exhibit a major content of protein [30]. The difference in the parameters of moisture, fat, and protein between the same species of insect, could be attributed to factors such as the period of growth, diet, climate and place of collection of the insects [13,32]. Not all insects are safe to eat, some insects are not edible or cause allergic reactions [14]. ...
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Insects are currently of interest due to their high nutritional value, in particular for the high concentration of quality protein. Moreover, it can also be used as an extender or binder in meat products. The objective was to evaluate grasshopper flour (GF) as a partial or total replacement for potato starch to increase the protein content of sausages and achieve good acceptability by consumers. GF has 48% moisture, 6.7% fat and 45% total protein. Sausages were analyzed by NIR and formulations with GF in all concentrations (10, 7, 5 and 3%) combined with starch (3, 5 and 7%) increased protein content. Results obtained for the sausages formulations with grasshoppers showed an increase in hardness, springiness, gumminess and chewiness through a Texture-Profile-Analysis. Moreover, a* and b* are similar to the control, but L* decreased. The check-all-that-apply test showed the attributes highlighted for sausages with GF possessed herbal flavor, brown color, and granular texture. The liking-product-landscape map showed that the incorporation of 7 and 10% of GF had an overall liking of 3.2 and 3.3, respectively, considered as “do not like much”. GF can be used as a binder in meat products up to 10% substitution. However, it is important to improve the overall liking of the sausage.
... The substitution of flaxseed oil enriched with omega-3 fatty acids at different concentrations into a basal diet composed of black soldier flies, lesser mealworms, and house crickets could increase the accumulation of omega-3 fatty acids while lowering the n-6:n-3 ratio (Oonincx, Laurent, Veenenbos, & van Loon, 2020). The comparative effects of feeding grasshoppers with alfalfa and maize green fodder on the nutritional value of the grasshoppers were studied by Ibarra-Herrera et al. (2020), and the results showed that the essential amino acid index and biological value of the grasshoppers fed with alfalfa were 10% higher than those fed with maize green fodder alone. In addition, Oonincx et al. (2020) suggested that the accumulation capability and the synthesis of nutrients, particularly fatty acids, may differ depending on insect species, leading to distinct nutritional profiles in different species that are given similar diets. ...
... The level of Zn in the SPWL was higher than Bombay locusts (82 mg/kg), scarab beetles (88 mg/kg), house crickets (116 mg/kg), and mulberry silkworms (98 mg/kg) (Köhler et al., 2019). However, the Zn content of the SPWL was lower than grasshoppers (178-180 mg/kg) (Ibarra-Herrera et al., 2020). Generally, the minerals varied among the samples, but the SPWL fed with RB tended to have greater contents of all minerals, which was in line with the highest ash content in this diet (Table 1). ...
... It should be noted that all three new supplements (PS, SB, and CM) provided a greater source of quality proteins to the SPWL than the traditional supplements (PF and RB) as evidenced by the increased EAA content in the SPWL. Normally, a healthy source of protein is indicated when EAAI values are 70-90% (Ibarra-Herrera et al., 2020). Accordingly, only PS (EAAI = 72%) could be considered as a useful protein source for the SPWL, which was similar to the study of Kulma, Kouřimská, Plachý, Božik, Adámková, and Vrabec (2019) for house crickets (EAAI = 72-77%). ...
Nutritional composition and growth performance of sago palm weevil larvae (SPWL) fed with ground sago palm trunk mixed with different supplements including commercial pig feed, rice bran, cornmeal, soybean meal, and perilla seed were evaluated. SPWL fed with supplemented diets were richer in protein, lipid, and mineral contents (p < 0.05). Marked increases in polyunsaturated fatty acids (10.75-fold) and omega-3 fatty acids (25.42-fold) with the lowest n-6:n-3 ratio, atherogenicity index, and thrombogenicity index were found in SPWL fed with perilla seed (p < 0.05). Perilla seed, cornmeal, and soybean meal improved essential amino acid content and essential amino acid index of SPWL. Growth performance varied, depending on feed compositions, where a comparable or even greater effect was observed in SPWL fed with supplemented diets compared to control. Therefore, plant-based supplements, especially perilla seed, efficiently improved nutritional quality of SPWL, making them more attractive in terms of nutritional and economical value.
... For example, grasshoppers have evolved to live in grasslands [19] and specialist caterpillars have evolved to specific host-plants such as Mopane worms (Imbrasia belina) to the Mopane tree (Colophospermum mopane) [20]. Using HCA for natural habitats to harvest insect pests can be a method to reduce damage due to agricultural pests or in place of pesticide use [9,11,21,22]. ...
... One case of HCA where overharvesting is not an issue is harvesting of insect pests on plant crops. This can be used as a method to reduce damage due to agricultural pests or in place of pesticide use [9,11,21,22]. ...
The current paradigm of the edible insects for food and feed industry uses a species-centric approach in which an insect species is chosen first and development of rearing practices follows. The goal is to optimize production to maximize the yield of that species in that facility. In contrast, the habitat-centric approach first chooses a habitat, either natural or artificial, then develops harvesting or rearing protocols within that habitat. The goal of this approach is to maximize the yield derived from that habitat. The habitat-centric approach eliminates potential threats from invasive species, and can repurpose local food and agricultural waste into protein derived from local insect species. This approach can increase food security by increasing the diversity of insects that are mass-produced. The species-centric and habitat-centric approaches address different issues and offer advantages in different situations. Further development of the edible insect industry will likely use a combination of both approaches.
... Chitin, a long-chain polymer of N-acetylglucosamine, is the most usual insoluble fiber in insects and is the main component of the insects exoskeleton. [60][61][62][63] The chitin content of edible insects depends on the development stage. [8] This fiber does not present direct allergic activity but has been reported to present immune-stimulating properties that can be linked to allergic reactions if consumed at high concentrations. ...
... [64] In lower concentrations, it has proven to be beneficial to human health, as it acts as a prebiotic for gut bacteria. [61,63] Several authors have evaluated the use of edible insect ingredients in food formulations, principally in meat products such as sausages ( Table 2). One of the most used edible insect ingredients is the yellow mealworm flour (Tenebrio molitor) due to its high protein (50-55% DB) and fat content (30-35% DB). ...
Edible insects as an alternative protein source have gained consumers' attention, leading to new market possibilities. Several investigations have generated and characterized ingredients from insects and assessed their potential application in food, feed, and their biological potential. Insects are a rich source of protein, ranging from 30% to 65%. Insect derived ingredients show great potential to be added to food products. Protein isolates or concentrates, protein hydrolysates and peptides are obtained from edible insects using different methods. Insect protein techno-functional properties include water and oil-holding capacity, emulsifying, solubility and gelling properties. Depending on protein techno-functional properties, food applications can be designed to improve their development in the formulated food. Nowadays, several commercially available food and feed products are formulated including insect ingredients. However, research related to insect-derived peptides biological potential is limited. In-depth biological assays are needed to understand the potential health benefits of insects bioactive components. Potential future research could focus on the technological properties of insect proteins, oriented to the physicochemical interactions with food matrices, including sensory quality, texture and rheological properties of new food products.
The application of alfalfa powder (AP) in Tibetan sheep to explore its healthy effects and meat quality improvement potential has not been reported. Our study found that AP improved the growth performance, serum metabolism, and antioxidation of Tibetan sheep. The edible quality, sensory quality, and nutritional quality of longissimus dorsi (LD) were analyzed. We observed lower drip loss and hue angle of meat after AP supplementation. AP also increased the cooked meat percentage, pH24 h, a*24 h, chroma24 h, and the contents of protein and fat. The targeted metabolomics profiling revealed that the contents of essential amino acids and flavor amino acids in mutton increased by AP treatments. AP also promoted the deposition of MUFA and PUFA. Therefore, as a promising botanical supplement, AP has a positive effect on the growth, development, and body health of Tibetan sheep, and is also conductive to providing healthy and nutritious high-quality livestock products.
This review aimed to compare alternative protein sources in terms of nutritional composition and health benefits with the purpose of disseminating up-to-date knowledge and contribute for diversification of the food marked and consumers decision-making. Plant-based is the most well-established category of alternative proteins, but there is still room for diversification. Less conventional species such as chia seeds are prominent sources of ω-3 (∼60% total lipids), while hempseed and quinoa are notable sources of ω-6 (up to 58% and 61%, respectively). Edible insects and microalgae are alternative foods rich in protein (up to 70%), fibers (∼30%), as well as peptides and polysaccharides with antimicrobial, antioxidant, anti-hypertensive, antidiabetic, antidepressant, antitumor, and immunomodulatory activities. Additionally, lipid contents in insect larvae can be as high as 50%, on a dry weight basis, containing fatty acids with anti-inflammatory and antitumor properties. In contrast, edible fungi have low lipid contents (∼2%), but are rich in carbohydrates (up to 79%) and have balanced amino acid profiles. The results suggest that food formulations combining different alternative protein sources can meet dietary requirements. Further studies on flavoring and texturing processes will help to create meat and dairy analogs, thus helping to broaden acceptance and applicability of alternative protein sources.
The nutritional values of sago palm weevil larvae (SPWL) reared on mixed plant-based diets (ground sago palm trunk (GS), cornmeal, rice bran, soybean, and perilla seed), containing different levels of dietary fish oil (FO) were compared to those reared on commercial pig feed (PF) and GS. Increased FO content resulted in an increase in ω-3 fatty acids (FA) in SPWL (p<0.05), especially α-linolenic acid and eicosapentaenoic acid. When fed FO-fortified diets instead of PF, the health-promoting indices of the SPWL lipid improved significantly (e.g., decreased ω-6/ω-3 ratio, thrombogenicity index, and hypercholesterolemic FA with increased PUFA content). The lipid, protein, and mineral contents of SPWL were increased while growth performance was maintained on a 1.5% FO-fortified diet. Higher FO levels (3-5%) had a negative impact on the nutritional values and growth performance of the SPWL. Thus, there was a reasonable chance of developing a high-nutrient alternative insect for human consumption.
Farm-raised sago palm weevil (Rhynchophorus ferrugineus) larvae (SPWL) can be used as a protein source for food sustainability. This study aimed to investigate the potential of pH-shift processing as a cold refinery approach to produce protein isolate from SPWL. Maximum solubility of SPWL protein was observed at pH 2.0 (acid-aided process) and pH 11.5 (alkaline-aided process). The zeta-potential of the protein solution was close to zero with the lowest solubility at pH 4.5. So, the protein precipitation was performed at this pH. Although both acid and alkaline methods yielded roughly 66% protein, their nutritional and techno-functional features differed based on the pH-shifting process. The alkaline-produced protein isolate had higher essential amino acid (EAA) content and EAA index but it was darker in colour. The acid-produced protein isolate had larger levels of umami-taste-active and functional amino acids, as well as a higher emulsifying capability.
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Objectives To develop successful mass-rearing programs of edible insects, knowledge of the feeds and their influence on nutritional content is critical. We assessed the influence of natural food plants (grass inflorescences) and their mixtures on fatty acid profiles of edible Ruspolia differens. We reared neonate nymphs to adult on six dietary treatments consisting of one, and mixtures of two, three, five, six and eight plants. Results The contents of saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids, omega-6/omega-3 ratio, and adult body weight did not differ among dietary treatments. However, the composition of fatty acids differed significantly among insects fed on six dietary treatments, but only for the rare fatty acids. Our results demonstrate that even if natural diets (grass inflorescences) do not strongly modify fatty acid contents or compositions of R. differens, when reared from neonate nymphs to adults, their n − 6/n − 3 fatty acid ratio is generally low and thus good for a healthy human diet.
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The aim of this research was to evaluate the chemical composition, functional and thermal properties, and fatty acid profile of the grasshopper (Sphenarium purpurascens Ch.), as well as the effect of temperature (60, 70, 80 and 90 °C) on some functional properties. Grasshopper meal (GM) had an L* = 47.65 and an intense red-brown color (# 896a5c), a high protein content (53.57 g/100 g) and an energy value of 414.98 kcal/100 g. The GM presented a foaming capacity of 6.17%, a foam stability of 7.13 min, and a gelification capacity of 14%. The temperature showed no significant effect (p > 0.05) on the water absorption capacity (1.75 g/g), while the increase in temperature decreased (p < 0.05) the water solubility capacity [17.13% (60 °C)–12.33% (90 °C)], the oil absorption capacity [2.79 g/g (60 °C)–2.16 g/g (90 °C)] and the emulsifying capacity [20.33% (60 °C)–18.5% (90 °C)]. The GM showed only a thermal transition at a temperature of 131.01–163.07 °C with a transition energy of 5059 J/g. Grasshopper oil presented a high content of polyunsaturated fatty acids, predominated by gamma linolenic acid, which was followed by linoleic acid. The information generated in this research could be used for further studies on grasshoppers and for the development of new food products.
Future protein demand is expected to rise with global population growth. In this study a comprehensive sensorial analysis of the odor of honey bee (Apis mellifera) larvae and pupae as function of their diet (with and without added sugar solution) was performed, as well as nutritional values and antioxidant activity analysis. Honey bee brood powder is a potentially valuable nutritional source with 20–25% protein (dry matter basis), high antioxidant activity and polyphenol content. Main volatile compounds detected using GC–MS with HS–SPME injection were odorless pheromones that represented differences between larvae and pupae. The determined active odor compounds were 2- and 3-methylbutanal, diacetyl, nonanal, dimethyl sulfide and ocimene. A trained sensory panel described honey bee brood aroma profile mainly with buttery and milky attributes, with different life stages and diets giving similar profiles. Such studies can be useful for future development of food products with desired nutritional and sensorial characteristics.
Insects are rich in major nutrients, such as protein and fat. Recently, minor nutrients like vitamins have become the subjects of interest in insects. Hence, this study reports on the development and validation of a method for the determination of vitamin B12 in mealworm (Tenebrio molitor larvae), cricket (Gryllus assimilis), grasshopper (Locusta migratoria) and cockroach (Shelfordella lateralis), using an ultra-high performance liquid chromatography approach with preliminary immunoaffinity chromatography sample preparation. The method was validated regarding linearity, specificity, accuracy and precision, as well as limits of detection/quantification, and was found to be satisfactory for the desired application. Found levels of vitamin B12 were 1.08 µg/100 g for mealworm, 2.88 µg/100 g for cricket, 0.84 µg/100 g for grasshopper, and 13.2 µg/100 g dry weight for cockroach, representing the first validated report on the content of vitamin B12 in edible insects. Observed interferences are likely caused by the presence of pseudovitamin B12.
Ruspolia differens (Serville) (Orthoptera: Tettigoniidae) is a highly valued edible grasshopper species in Africa. However, the effects of plant diets on lipid content and fatty acid composition of R. differens are not well understood. We tested the effects of four diets on the total lipid content and fatty acid composition of R. differens. Sixth instar nymphs of R. differens were reared on one, and mixtures of two, three, and six natural plant inflorescences. Individuals collected from the field constituted a control treatment.We extracted lipids and analyzed the fatty acidmethyl esters using gas chromatography–mass spectrometry. We analyzed if the total lipid content, body weight, and fatty acid composition differed among diets and between the sexes using two-way ANOVAs and a PERMANOVA model, respectively. The total lipid content and weight of R. differens did not differ among the diets. The nine common fatty acids were palmitic (mean across treatments, 26%), oleic (22%), palmitoleic (18%), linoleic (13%), stearic (7%), myristic (6%), myristoleic (4%), α-linolenic (2%) and arachidic acid (1%). The composition of fatty acids and the proportion of essential fatty acids significantly differed among the diets. The proportion of essential fatty acids was highest in the control treatment (21%) but low in less diversified (one to three feed) diets (12–13%). This study demonstrates that the fatty acid composition in R. differens can be influenced through diet. Thus, with dietary manipulations, using local plants in Africa, it is possible to produce R. differens with preferred high quality essential fatty acids for human consumption.
There are increasing interests in rearing edible insects in Africa, but information on how the feeds modify their fatty acids is largely lacking. In this work, the influence of artificial diets on the fatty acid contents and composition in the edible Ruspolia differens (Serville, 1838), in Uganda was assessed. R. differens was reared on the mixtures of six gradually diversified diets of two, three, four, six, eight and nine feeds. The diets were formulated from rice seed head, finger millet seed head, wheat bran, superfeed chicken egg booster, sorghum seed head, germinated finger millet, simsim cake, crushed dog biscuit pellet and shea butter. Fatty acid methyl esters were prepared using direct transesterification method, and analysed using gas chromatography. The contents of saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acid differed significantly among the diets. The more diverse diets resulted in increased content of the polyunsaturated fatty acids. The n6:n3 ratio differed significantly among the diets and between the sexes, with R. differens fed on the four-feed diet having a higher n6:n3 ratio than those fed on other diets. Also, the fatty acid composition differed significantly among the diets, and diet diversification corresponded with the proportions of polyunsaturated fatty acids, especially linoleic acid. Overall, our results demonstrate that higher levels of essential fatty acids can be achieved by rearing R. differens on highly diversified diets. These findings are important in informing the design of future mass-rearing program for this edible insect.
Legumes are among the most important sources of protein worldwide, but their consumption is limited by the presence of antinutritional factors such as trypsin inhibitors (TIs). The most common strategy to inactivate TIs is by thermal treatments (TT) and other methods such as the use of reducing agents seems promising, because of their selectivity. The objective of this work was to evaluate the effect of TT and reducing agents (metabisulfite –MB- or L-cysteine –LCys-) over TIs activity from chickpea (CP) and soybean (SB) and to determine the influence of these treatments over protein functionality. The results showed that the most effective method for SBTI inactivation was the combined use of TT and MB, reducing trypsin inhibitor activity (TIA) up to 99.4%. This treatment changed the secondary structure of SB proteins, reduced water solubility index (WSI) 44.4% and increased water absorption index (WAI) more than 4 fold. For CP, LCys was the most effective to reduce TIA (up to 89.1%) with no influence over WSI and WAI. The different effect of TT and reducing agents in SB and CP makes evident the differences in the TI structure for both legumes.
In our research soluble proteins from edible grasshopper (S. gregaria) and honey bee brood (A. mellifera) were exposed to defatting, alkaline, and sonication-assisted extractions. New nitrogen-to-protein conversion factors based on amino acid analysis were estimated for both insects: 4.5 for adult grasshopper, and 4.9 and 5.6 for pupae and larvae of honey bee respectively, in contrary to 6.25 commonly used for insects. All fractions were characterized by their composition, yield, color, protein solubility, and functional properties in comparison to whey protein concentrate. Besides an increase in protein content up to 57.5 and 55.2% for grasshopper and honey bee respectively, protein-enriched fractions showed improved foaming and emulsifying abilities. The highest emulsion stability after 120 min was determined for grasshopper powder extracted with sonication (85.5%) and whey proteins (89.8%). The protein-enriched fractions of both insects had significantly higher foaming stability (74.1% for grasshopper fraction after alkaline extraction and 55.5% for sonication-assisted honey bee fraction) than raw and defatted powder. All fractions obtained from honey bee brood showed significantly higher protein heat coagulation than grasshopper and whey proteins. Changes in protein functionality were found related to alteration in protein charge, surface hydrophobicity, and distribution of proteins according to their molecular weight. Therefore, our results showed that S. gregaria and A. mellifera have a potential for future applications for food, feed, or insect-based dietary supplements.
Since January 2018, insects have been recognised as novel foods in the EU, but their nutritional value varies, and factors affecting their nutritional composition have been debated. We investigated the effect of sex on the nutritional value and chemical composition of the house cricket (Acheta domestica L.). Both sexes were rich in protein and lipids. The proximate composition was partly influenced by sex; females contained a significantly higher amount of lipids (18.3-21.7 vs 12.9-16.1 g/100 g dry matter, p = 0.0001) and fewer proteins than males (61.2-64.9 vs 66.3-69.6 g/100 g dry matter, p = 0.0001). Males contained more chitin (p = 0.0015) and nitrogen chains (p = 0.0003) than females. Only the ash (p = 0.4314) and nitrogen-free extract (p = 0.4871) were uninfluenced by sex. Furthermore, nutrient quality expressed as essential amino acid (72.3-77.1), thrombogenicity (1.22-1.45), and atherogenicity indices (0.53-0.58) did not differ between sexes (p > 0.05).