Evaluating the nutritional value and safety of products of small-scale reared edible cricket value chain
About the project
UK-registered Partner: University of Abertay Dundee – Alberto Fiore
Africa-registered Partner: Chinhoyi University of Technology – Faith Manditsera
Food innovation scientists from Abertay University in Dundee and Chinhoyi University of Technology in Zimbabwe, working with Jumping Protein, have experimented on feeding crickets (Acheta domesticus) with different locally available feeds and evaluated the nutritional, chemical and microbial safety of crickets.
Dry feed (soyabean and sunflower homemade feeds) and wet feeds (amaranth and sweet potatoes leaves) were fed to crickets in controlled conditions at Jumping Protein for a period of 8 weeks. Samples of the feeds and harvested crickets (processed at 80oC) were analysed to determine the nutritional quality, chemical and microbial safety.
The project proved that dry feeds (higher protein content), supported better growth and total harvest yield of the crickets than wet feeds which couldn’t sustain growth and led to high mortality of the crickets. The high mortality could be attributed to the microbial load of the fresh feeds.
The protein and fat content (including proportion of individual fats) of the feeds directly correlates to that found in the crickets. Heavy metals (Lead, Mercury, Cadmium and Chromium) were notifiable for their absence (a positive result). Higher protein content feed enabled the crickets to grow to harvesting size faster and, crucially, that the nutritional value of the insects could also be altered and controlled by the diet.
A sensory panel was completed for the crickets fed on various feeds, and not only are soya bean fed crickets nutritionally better they are favoured for taste, aroma, texture, and appearance.
Learn more about the project in this recording from our recent GCRF AgriFood Africa Project Showcase event.