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Natural Awakenings Tucson

Bug Food: Protein-Rich Insects May Be Food of the Future

Jun 30, 2015 08:14AM

As the world’s population grows, it makes sense to decrease consumption of animal protein. Approximately 70 percent of agricultural land and 30 percent of the total land on Earth is currently used to raise livestock, the world’s main source of protein. “Insects require less feed, water, land and energy to produce and their production generates substantially lower environmental pollutants, such as pesticides and greenhouse gases,” says Aaron Dossey, Ph.D., owner of All Things Bugs, in Gainesville, Florida, a company that provides protein-rich insect powder for commercial use.

“Some insects are as much as 80 percent protein by weight and provide more essential amino acids than most other animal proteins,” reports Dossey. “They are also rich in nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids.” For example, on a dry-weight basis, crickets contain as much omega-3 fatty acids as salmon.

Florence Dunkel, Ph.D., an associate professor of entomology at Montana State University and editor of The Food Insects Newsletter, states, “Eighty-five insect species in the U.S. are documented as potential food sources; worldwide, there are 1,900 species.” She cites locusts, grasshoppers, crickets, silk moth pupae and beetle and moth larvae among the top insects consumed as food worldwide.

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