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Entomophagi - people eating insects

Entomophagy – human consumption of insects

With a steadily increasing human population and on top of this a fast growing middle class in populous countries, the future brings an accelerating demand for protein in human consumption. As production of insect protein is much more efficient (less food, space and water is required to culture insects) than production of traditional livestock protein, there is a steadily increasing interest in exploring the possibilities for the use of insects as a human food source. In contrast to western culture most tropical countries are familiar with the eating of insects. The utilization of insects in tropical countries is therefore a good starting point in explorations within entomophagy. In the department we have been working with the combined use of weaver ants as biocontrol agents and as a protein source. The ants prey on insects which are turned into ant biomass. As the ants are edible and high in protein they are subsequently harvested and eaten. In this setup harmful pest insects are converted into valuable protein and at the same time plant production is enhanced. Work related to the use of weaver ants as a protein source has been conducted in Thailand, Indonesia, Australia, Tanzania and Benin.

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