Can insects contribute to nutrition and health?


👉Formulating palatable, insect-based complementary foods for children 6-23 months old in Western Kenya

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🤜Maryam Imbumi, a PhD researcher at the Faculty of Bioscience Engineering UGent (supervisors: Prof. Gellynck, Prof. De Steur, and Prof. Raes), is studying the nutritional composition of 15 edible insects from Africa and their formulated insect-based complementary foods. The impact of the insects in the complementary foods on mineral bioaccessibility was evaluated using in vitro digestion. Furthermore, the safety of the insects and the insect complementary foods during storage were evaluated by measuring allergens, microbial load, fungal contamination, and mycotoxins. Finally, 5 blends of insect-based porridges were chosen to be processed into instant porridge flours and packaged for sensory evaluations and purchase intention with mothers and their children. A market study is being performed to evaluate price, demand, and health benefits of the edible insects and their porridge.

🤜This PhD is part of a project financed by VLIR-UOS. It is a collaboration between UGent (Department of Agricultural Economics, Research Unit VEG-i-TEC, Centre of Excellence in Mycotoxicology and Public Health, Laboratory of Applied Mycology and Phenomics), Kenyatta University, Kenya (Department of Food, Nutrition, and Dietetics), University of Nairobi, Kenya (Mycotoxins laboratory), and International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (icipe), Kenya.