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Water 2015, 7(11), 6190-6203;

Mealworms for Food: A Water Footprint Perspective

Department of Management, Economics, Mathematics and Statistics, University of Salento, via per Monteroni, Lecce 73100, Italy
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Academic Editor: Stephan Pfister
Received: 6 August 2015 / Revised: 26 October 2015 / Accepted: 3 November 2015 / Published: 6 November 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Water Consumption)
Full-Text   |   PDF [410 KB, uploaded 6 November 2015]   |  


In this paper, we have explored the possibility of substituting traditional meat products with an alternative source of protein (insects) in order to reduce human pressure on water. Insects, in fact, could represent a good alternative source of quality proteins and nutrients and they are already a very popular component of the diet of one third of the world’s population in approximately 80% of countries. In the study, we have taken into account only two species of edible insects (Tenebrio molitor and Zophobas morio mealworms), because they are already commercially produced even in Western countries, and for this reason it is possible to find specific data in literature about their diets. We have used the water footprint (WF) as a reliable indicator to calculate the volume of water required for production and to compare different products. The final aim of the work is, in fact, to evaluate the WF of the production of edible insects with a focus on water consumption associated with protein content, in order to make a comparison with other animal protein sources. We have demonstrated that, from a freshwater resource perspective, it is more efficient to obtain protein through mealworms rather than other traditional farmed animals. View Full-Text
Keywords: livestock; insects; mealworms; food; freshwater; water footprint livestock; insects; mealworms; food; freshwater; water footprint

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Miglietta, P.P.; De Leo, F.; Ruberti, M.; Massari, S. Mealworms for Food: A Water Footprint Perspective. Water 2015, 7, 6190-6203.

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