• Bite to eat

    Bite to eat

    Twelve amino acids, four flavonoids and 10 essential fatty acids are all present in the stink bug – an edible insect that could serve as an alternative food source, and possibly improve health and nutrition in Africa.

    Scientists at the International Centre for Insect Physiology and Ecology in Kenya have discovered that stink bugs carry high protein, fatty acids and anti-inflammatory chemicals – giving the insect the potential to help decrease the number of nutrient-deficient communities in Africa, where vegetables and animal food sources are limited.

    According to a SciDev.Net report, researchers from Kenya and Zimbabwe collected the bugs for the study from Jiri forest in south-eastern Zimbabwe by creating four harvesting quadrants that covered the entire area. The study was conducted in 2014, specifically in June as it is during the May to August period that the insect’s abdominal fat composition is at its highest.

    ‘Our policy recommendation is that carbohydrate-based diets, such as cereals and cassava, can be fortified with powdered, processed edible stink bugs to improve their nutritional uptake,’ says Baldwyn Torto, corresponding author of the study. He warns, however, that harvesting and processing of the bugs requires appropriate storage procedures to avoid contamination.

    2 February 2016
    Image: iStockPhoto