If you heard that in the distant future we will not have enough protein foods, relax. There is an ideal substitute for protein products – insects, cultivated by modern farmers. Say goodbye to the beef burger, as it will disappear, and say hello to the insect cricket hamburger.
Red dye, silk and the protection of fields from pests – all this we also received thanks to insects. To grow them for human consumption is a bold idea that will help fight hunger. Here are a few insects that are used both in industry and in cooking.
1. Silkworms are bred for the silk industry
With the insect, genes fumbled several times. Scientists even decided to paste the spider gene into silkworm DNA in order to obtain more durable threads for the manufacture of airbags and body armor. It was a spider that was taken for gene modification, because the cobweb is famous for its high strength and does not melt at high temperatures, like synthetics.
Despite efforts in the field of genetic engineering and mechanization, most of the silk is still produced in the old fashioned way.
The silkworm is also a nutritious insect: about 9 grams of protein and 2 grams of carbohydrates per 100 grams of insects. 100 grams of white bread has the same value.
2. From cochineal make red dye
If the silkworm is an iconic insect in Asia, then cochineal is its Latin American version. They make carmine from it, which colors everything: from wool to lipstick. It is most often used in cosmetology. This is due to the fact that some artificial colors are recognized as carcinogenic. Cochineal is also used in the manufacture of jelly, biscuits, icing for desserts.
The main world exporter of carmine is Peru, the country produces 850 tons of dye per year.
3. Ladybug bred to control dangerous pests of agricultural plants
Another red insect is a ladybug. British farmers cultivate them to protect crops from aphids. These insects are so effective that farmers are paid for their breeding: 72 thousand individuals cost $ 95. This amount is enough to save 0.4 ha of the crop.
4. Housefly feed animals
In South America, there is a company that has been growing flies since 2009. She has won many awards and grants for the production of animal feed: chickens and fish.
The main thing is that the cultivation of these insects does not require land resources and large investments.
5. Brown worms are healthy and tasty
It is brown garden worms that are recommended for human consumption. To get rid of the smell of the earth, they are fed with cornflour 24 hours before consumption. Current wholesale prices – 350 hryvnias per 10 kg.
6. Red mosquito larvae improve soil fertility
Bloodworms, or red mosquito larvae, supply the soil with oxygen and are used as food for fish. They are more expensive than earthworms – 300 UAH per 1 kg.
7. Crickets replace meat and other protein foods.
It is pleasant to grow them – they do not eat carrion, but fresh products: salad or oatmeal. Plus pleasant memories of night chatter.
About 30 startups involved in insect breeding have been launched in North America. First, cricket flour appeared in San Francisco – cricket flour, then in New York and Colorado cricket bars – cricket bars. Soon, it is planned to release cricket chips on the shelves of US stores, which, sooner or later, will reach us.
8. The larvae of the fly “black soldier” – an excellent fertilizer for plants and animal feed
Unlike house flies, the “black soldiers” are inactive and very easy to catch. In addition, the larvae do not care about the taste of the food – they eat everything that they are given. And after they eat their food, they give compost – a fertilizer for plants.
Larvae are also used as pet food. They are so useful that they are also suitable for human consumption: they are 42% protein, contain a large amount of calcium and amino acids.
You can overcome hunger in Africa relatively easily – feed starving insects. Even if we really want to, we will not be able to harm their populations – there are a lot of them, only the number of their species, according to various estimates, is from 2 to 8 million, and they multiply rapidly. And if at first glance they seem nasty – everything happens for the first time. Raw fish in sushi also at first seemed unusual.