Is edible insect as a novel food digestible?
Keywords:digestibility, mealworm, culinary treatments, enzymes, nitrogenous substances
This work deals with the digestibility of a selected species of edible insect - mealworm (larvae) as novel food in dependency on its culinary treatment. The aim of this work was to find suitable thermic culinary treatment of mealworm larvae considering its optimum digestibility by human. The digestibility of materials from whole insect and extracted nitrogenous substances was determined using three different culinary treatments - without culinary treatment (freshly killed), dried insect and roasted insect. The digestibility was determined by gravimetric in vitro method using pepsin and pancreatin enzymes and their combination. The total nitrogen content of the insect samples was determined by the Kjeldahl method. The digestibility of the whole homogenized larvae using the combination of pepsin and pancreatin enzymes, thus simulating human digestion in-vitro, ranged from 81% for roasted specimens to 91.5% for culinary unprocessed insect. Similarly, the digestibility of nitrogenous substances of homogenized insect samples using this combination of enzymes ranged from 24.2% for roasted specimens to 80.2% for culinary unprocessed samples. The work showed the dependence of the digestibility of the mealworm larvae on the culinary treatment - the increasing heat load of the sample reduced the digestibility. Furthermore, it proved the effect of the digestive enzyme on the digestibility of the insect sample.
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