Special Issue "Edible Insects as Innovative Foods: Nutritional, Functional and Acceptability Assessments"

A special issue of Foods (ISSN 2304-8158). This special issue belongs to the section "Nutraceuticals and Functional Foods".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 January 2020.

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Prof. Chuleui Jung Website 1 Website 2 E-Mail
School of Bioresource Sciences, Andong National University, Andong 760-749, Korea
Interests: insect ecology; insect; entomology;
Guest Editor
Prof. Victor Benno Meyer-Rochow Website 1 Website 2 E-Mail
Department of Ecology and Genetics, Oulu University, Oulu, Finland
Interests: ethno-entomology; functional anatomy; vision; neurobiology

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Will insects be the food of the future?

The answer is that we aren’t sure yet, but what we are certain of is that insects in the past were indeed a food item appreciated by humankind worldwide (Bequaert 1921, Bergier 1941; Bodenheimer 1951). Somehow and for reasons not completely understood, but probably related to the spread of Christianity that forbade the consumption of insects with the exception of four species of locust, the awareness that insects can be vectors of some fatal human diseases, the emotional separation from nature including entomophobia, and an increasingly greater variety of foodstuffs reaching the consumer, the use of insects as human food became less and less popular over the years.

However, there is no doubt that since time immemorial humans have almost certainly consumed some insects either by ingesting them more or less accidentally with fruit and other items or seeking to eat them deliberately. Even our closest animal relatives, the monkeys, have been observed to actively collect insects and other arthropods in order to eat them, e.g. Marshall 1902; Carpenter 1921; Nickle and Heymann 1996; Sanz et al. 2009) or, in the case of millipedes, to use them therapeutically (Weldon et al. 2003).

Over the last 30 years, there has been a renewed interest in insects as human food. International conferences have begun to focus more and more on edible insects since the XVI International Pacific Science Congress in Seoul in August 1987 and the International Conference on Minilivestock in Beijing in September 1995 brought this topic to a wider audience. Scientific publications, too numerous to mention, have appeared in the last 20 years or so, praising the advantages of an insect-based diet over a diet consisting of conventional meats like poultry and especially ruminants, and highlighting the environmentally advantageous farming of mini-livestock like insects over that of traditionally farmed animals. Various edible insect species have had their farming potential assessed, their acceptability as a novelty food (or feed in animal husbandry and fish culture) examined and their potential risk of carrying diseases or undesired microbes scrutinized.

Although insects should not be seen as a food item for humans merely to survive times of dietary hardship and periods of starvation, there is no way to deny that the global food security situation for the human population is becoming increasingly precarious and that food production worldwide has to increase by at least 50% to meet demand by 2050. Despite earlier reports of people who live traditionally in different parts of the world engaging in entomophagy (the consumption of insects), until Meyer-Rochow (1975) none of these reports had thought to link global food security to the universal and extensive use of insects as a possible and potent way to ease global food shortages.

We now possess a considerable amount of information on the kinds of insect that serve as food to various people in the world; we know that most insects are nutritious, consist of valuable protein, easily digestible fatty acids, and contain important minerals and vitamins, and recommendations exist regarding how to breed the most lucrative species optimally.

However, there are still gaps to be filled with regard to the processing of cultured insects, the preparation and conservation of insect-based foods, economics and marketing, and the potential of insects as suppliers of health-promoting drugs and medicines.

It is with these thoughts in mind that we accepted the task of serving as guest editors for this issue of the journal Foods on edible insects and their role as food as well as raw material for a variety of products.

Prof. Chuleui Jung
Prof. Victor Benno Meyer-Rochow
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Foods is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1200 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • entomophagy
  • functionality
  • preparation
  • conservation
  • economics
  • marketing

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Microbiological Profile and Bioactive Properties of Insect Powders Used in Food and Feed Formulations
Foods 2019, 8(9), 400; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods8090400 - 09 Sep 2019
Abstract
Microbiological, nutritional and bioactive properties of edible powders obtained from Acheta domesticus (house cricket) and Tenebrio molitor (mealworm) were investigated. Except for the enterobacteria, viable bacteria were at a higher concentration in mealworm flour. The diversity evaluation carried out using MiSeq Illumina that [...] Read more.
Microbiological, nutritional and bioactive properties of edible powders obtained from Acheta domesticus (house cricket) and Tenebrio molitor (mealworm) were investigated. Except for the enterobacteria, viable bacteria were at a higher concentration in mealworm flour. The diversity evaluation carried out using MiSeq Illumina that mainly identified Citrobacter and Enterobacteriaceae in mealworm powder and members of the Porphyromonadaceae family in house cricket powder. Enterococci were identified and characterized for their safety characteristics in terms of the absence of antibiotic resistance and virulence. Both powders represent a good source of proteins and lipids. The fatty acid profile of mealworm powder was characterized by the predominance of the monounsaturated fatty acids and house cricket powder by saturated fatty acids. The enzymatic hydrolysis produced the best results in terms of percentage of degree of hydrolysis with the enzyme Alcalase, and these data were confirmed by SDS-PAGE electrophoresis. Furthermore, the results showed that the protein hydrolysate of these powders produces a significant antioxidant power. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Consumer Avoidance of Insect Containing Foods: Primary Emotions, Perceptions and Sensory Characteristics Driving Consumers Considerations
Foods 2019, 8(8), 351; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods8080351 - 17 Aug 2019
Abstract
Why do many human beings find bugs repulsive? Disgust, a psychological factor, is believed to be the main reason why consumers would not consider eating foods containing insect ingredients. This study aimed to understand specific consumers’ behaviors toward insect based products. A global [...] Read more.
Why do many human beings find bugs repulsive? Disgust, a psychological factor, is believed to be the main reason why consumers would not consider eating foods containing insect ingredients. This study aimed to understand specific consumers’ behaviors toward insect based products. A global survey was launched in 13 different countries. The participants (n = 630 from each country) completed the survey that included demographic questions and questions about why they would or would not eat insect-based products. The results show, particularly for some of the Asian countries, that it is necessary to start exposing and familiarizing the populations about insects in order to diminish the disgust factor associated with insects. It is strongly recommended that an insect-based product should not contain visible insect pieces, which trigger negative associations. The exceptions were consumers in countries such as Mexico and Thailand, evaluated in this study, which did not show significant negative beliefs associated with including insects in their diets. Additional research to promote insect-based product consumption with popular product types might be the first strategy to break the disgust barriers and build acquaintance about insect-based products. The need to educate consumers that not all insects are unhygienic is crucial to eliminating the potentially erroneous concepts from consumer mindsets. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Mealworms as Food Ingredient—Sensory Investigation of a Model System
Foods 2019, 8(8), 319; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods8080319 - 06 Aug 2019
Abstract
The use of insects as food is a sustainable alternative to meat and as a protein source is fully comparable to meat, fish and soybeans. The next step is to make insects available for use in the more widespread production of food and [...] Read more.
The use of insects as food is a sustainable alternative to meat and as a protein source is fully comparable to meat, fish and soybeans. The next step is to make insects available for use in the more widespread production of food and meals. Sensory attributes are of great importance in being able to increase the understanding of insects as an ingredient in cooking and production. In this pilot study, mealworms were used as the main ingredient in a model system, where the aim was to evaluate the impact on sensory properties of changing particle size, oil/water ratio and salt content of the insects using a factorial design. Twelve different samples were produced according to the factorial design. Further, the effect of adding an antioxidant agent was evaluated. Sensory analysis and instrumental analyses were performed on the samples. Particle size significantly influenced the sensory attributes appearance, odor, taste and texture, but not flavor, whereas salt content affected taste and flavor. The viscosity was affected by the particle size and instrumentally measured color was affected by particle size and oil content. The addition of the antioxidant agent decreased the changes in color, rancidity and separation. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Factors Predicting the Intention of Eating an Insect-Based Product
Foods 2019, 8(7), 270; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods8070270 - 19 Jul 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
This study provides a framework of the factors predicting the intention of eating an insect-based product. As part of the study, a seminar was carried out to explore how the provision of information about ecological, health, and gastronomic aspects of entomophagy would modify [...] Read more.
This study provides a framework of the factors predicting the intention of eating an insect-based product. As part of the study, a seminar was carried out to explore how the provision of information about ecological, health, and gastronomic aspects of entomophagy would modify consumer beliefs regarding insects as food. Before and after the informative seminar, two questionnaires about sociodemographic attributes and beliefs about the consumption of insects as food were given. Participants were then asked to carry out a sensory evaluation of two identical bread samples, but one was claimed to be supplemented with insect powder. Results showed that perceived behavioral control is the main predictor of the intention, followed by neophobia and personal insect food rejection. The disgust factor significantly decreased after the participants attended the informative seminar. Sensory scores highlighted that participants gave “insect-labelled” samples higher scores for flavor, texture, and overall liking, nevertheless, participants indicated that they were less likely to use the “insect-labelled” bread in the future. Our findings provide a better understanding of insect food rejection behavior and help to predict the willingness to try insect-based products based on some important individual traits and information. Full article
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Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

1. Nyberg, M.; Olsson, V.; Wendin, K. “Would you like to eat an insect?”—Children’s perceptions of and thoughts about eating insects.

2. Nyberg, M.; Olsson, V.; Wendin, K. Drivers for including insects in the diet - reflections from Swedish consumers.

3. Wendin et al. Consumer preferences of foods differing in contents of mealworm.

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