On may 3 EU member states approved a European commission proposal to authorize trade of yellow mealworm larvae-a beetle , whose scientific name is Tenebrio molitor, for food use. The problem is that the global population is increasing dramatically and the animal husbandry and intensive agriculture on which the diet of the population of developed countries is based are no longer sustainable. It has also been thought that insects represent a good alternative to meet the food needs of the growing population in the world. The consumption of food  of insects is widespread  in Asia, Africa and South America . In other cultures, however, the use of insects for human food is not widespread.

This obligatory or optional dietary regime that sees insects as food  is called entomophagy . From an ecological point of view it is a trophic relationship of predation, parasitism or parasitoidism and is observable in a large number of animal groups such as insects, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish and mammals and microorganisms. From the anthropological point of view it is a widespread practice among many populations of the planet based on particular tastes or fashions or on the need to integrate the nutritional needs of proteins.

The use of insects in the human diet was particularly important in prehistoric times before humans discovered hunting and agriculture as evidenced, for example, by some coprolites found in Mexico and the United States and containing traces of ants, beetle larvae, lice, ticks and mites.

In the context of entomophagy, two categories can be distinguished: insects used as a primary source of nutrients and insects used as condiments. Some insects are then eaten as larvae, while others as adults. More than 1200 insect species are used as food by people around the world. Commonly used insects and arachnids include grasshoppers, crickets, termites, ants, beetle larvae, moths, caterpillars, pupae, spiders, tarantulas, and scorpions. As  far as nutritional values are concerned, insects represent highly respectable foods compared to meat. The protein content of grasshopper varies  from 8 to 32  depending on the species, for example. Why  not give it a try?

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Salvatore Giammello- Istituto comprensivo “O.G.De Cruyllas” Ramacca. Docente : Marilena Tamburino




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