With food deficiency expected to become a major problem in the next periods, many experts believe that insects could become a major cause of nutrients for people in the future.
We already have ample of insect-based recipes and restaurants have begun putting bugs on their menus, but we need an effective way of using them as replacements for staples of our present diet, like wheat. Well, a couple of Brazilian food scientists have to make a breakthrough in that area after magnificently turning a species of cockroaches into flour and using it to bake bread.
Andressa Lucas and Lauren Menegon, two engineering students at the Federal University of Rio Grande, in Brazil, have established a flour made from cockroaches that contain 40% more protein than regular wheat flour and can be used to make all kinds of baked goods.
It also contains lots of important amino acids, as well as amino acids and lipids. And before you start acting all disgusted, the flour is not made from bugs like tho ones crawling through your kitchen at night, but of a species called Nauphoeta cinerea.
They are obtained from a specialized breeder, where they are produced according to the hygiene requirements of the ANVISA, the Brazilian health surveillance agency, and fed exclusively on fruits and vegetables.
We chose the cockroach because it was the insect that had the maximum protein content almost 70 percent. It contains eight of the nine essential amino acids, it has high-quality fatty acids (such as omega-3 and omega-9) and we can use almost 100 percent of it, with very little residue, the two scientists told VICE Munchies. Insects are remarkably effective in converting what they eat in nutritional structures that can be spent by humans.
Since they are ironic sources of protein, they can enrich the human diet, especially for people suffering from malnutrition, and their consumption can help reduce the negative environmental impacts of livestock, since it requires less space and produces less pollution, so these features were enough to persuade us to start the research.
The VICE interview doesn’t reveal how the two scientists turn the cockroaches into flour, I think it’s fair to assume that the insects are dried and then finely ground into a fine flour-like powder. This then mixed with regular mixed flour to create baked goods like bread with an extensive protein content.
Lucas and Menegon conducted a study and found that a bread containing just 10% cockroach flour presented a protein increase of 49.16 percent when compared to bread made only with wheat flour.Fascinatingly, everyone who tasted the bread made with a small part cockroach flour said that they noticed almost no difference in taste, and when combined with more ingredients, like cereal bars or cakes, this change in taste is even harder to detect.
Fascinatingly, everyone who tasted the bread made with a small part cockroach flour said that they noticed almost no difference in taste, and when combined with more ingredients, like cereal bars or cakes, this change in taste is even harder to detect.
However, Andressa Lucas and Lauren Menegon have also found that most people are still not comfortable with the idea of insects as a food source.
When they asked people to sample their special bread and told them it contained cockroach flour, the majority of them chose not to taste it. The two scientists hope that people’s observation will change with time, and are currently experimenting with other insects, like crickets and beetles, which hopefully won’t put people off as much as cockroaches.
The UN estimates that by 2050 there will be no land area available for food production to supply the entire population of the world. In the case of insect upbringing, smaller spaces are used and it is an extremely ecological production because much less water is used and the insects produce fewer gasses contributing to the greenhouse effect than the cattle, the two scientists said.
In the end of the process, we are also able to use the insect in its totality, which doesn’t happen with cattle because many parts are not used for human consumption. Today this is not yet a reality, but in the future people will need to get used to this idea.