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It is possible to modify the fatty acid composition of edible grasshoppers by adding essential fatty acids in their feed, new research from the University of Eastern Finland shows. The study focused on the long-horned grasshopper Ruspolia differens, an economically and nutritionally important insect species that is common and widespread in Africa.
Species - Humans - Insects - Solution - Food
More than 2,000 insect species are known to be eaten by humans. Edible insects are one potential solution to global food security problems, since their production requires less space and water and has lower greenhouse emissions than the production of meat. However, for edible insects to realise their true potential as a source of food and feed, effective mass rearing methods for different species are needed.
"There are huge differences between different species: what works for one species, doesn't necessarily work for another. In our most recent study, for example, we explored what kind of egg-laying media would be suitable for mass rearing of Ruspolia differens," researcher Vilma Lehtovaara, MSc, from the University of Eastern Finland says.
Research - Use - Ruspolia - Differens - Uganda
"Our research has focused on the use of Ruspolia differens in Uganda, Africa. There, insects are vital for food security especially in rural areas. They often supplement people's diets and are consumed as snacks," Lehtovaara explains.
Insects are collected by harvesting wild populations during swarming seasons. However, Ruspolia differens swarms only twice a year and the yields are highly unpredictable. In many places in East Africa, overexploitation is a cause of concern, as harvesting has intensified and grasslands are diminishing due to changes in land use.
Mass - Rearing - Way - Populations - Term
"Mass rearing is a way to help preserve wild populations in the long term. We studied how the species lives out in the wild and how these conditions could be mimicked in a lab. We also...
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