Most of us cringe at the sight of squirmy little insects let alone putting them in our mouths as a source of food.
A recent study by International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE) suggests that we may have to adjust our culinary preferences by indulging in crickets, if we are to tap into the nutritional value that these critters have.
The researchers explain that the new species called Scapsipedus Icipe have a great potential for mass production for human consumption. They also found out that crickets can also be included as an alternative protein ingredient in animal feeds.
ICIPE scientist, Dr. Tanga Mbi, who found the insect as part of his postdoctoral research, said that previously, the cricket species was widely farmed in Kenya but it was just until recently that its scientific information became available.
He added that the study was important as it highlighted information on the species such as molecular and morphological characterisation, acoustic behaviour, including male’s call and courtship song, current distribution in Kenya and nutritional profile.
“This knowledge is important as it will enable the development of proper, more effective rearing techniques, and ultimately the effective incorporation of the species as a component in food and feed,” said, Dr. Tanga.
Associate Professor in the Department of Nutrition, Exercise and Sports from the University of Copenhagen, Nanna Roos, was excited about the discovery and said it is a bonus to science as the species already has demonstrated great potential large-scale farming.
Another study by researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison also revealed that crickets are a good source of fibre which is helpful in sustaining the growth of probiotics (healthy gut bacteria) which promotes a healthy gut.