Insects are used as human food in many parts of the world. In some developing countries, it is viewed with aversion but elsewhere, it is seen as a wise utilization of natural resources because insects form a greater part of the phylum arthropods which dominates the animal kingdom. The larva of the beetle Rhynochophorus phoenicis (F) is cherished as food among the many communities in Nigeria (Okaranye and Ikewuchi, 2008) and around the world especially in those places where palms (oil, raphia and coconut) are cultivated (Defoliat, 1992; Choon-Fah et al, 2008).
Ekrakene and Igeleke (2007) reported that in the Niger Delta region and Eastern States of Nigeria, the Larva is a cherished delicacy and can be seen hawked along major roads, markets and motor packs in Edo and Delta States of Nigeria. In 1976, Oliveira et al studied the nutritional compositions of four insect including Rhynchophorus phoenicis and they observed that it was high in fat and protein. They reported that the larvae are rich sources of animal fat, most valuable sources of unsaturated fatty acids. Okaranye and Ikewuchi (2008) observed a high protein value of 31.61% wet basis with a protein score of 72.97%. They concluded that the protein of the larvae is rich in essential amino acids, high in methionine, histidine and phenylalanine while limiting only in valine. Nzikou et al (2010) reported that the larva as a good source of minerals with sodium (832.59 ± 03mg/100g) as the highest, followed in descending order by magnesium (132.7 ± 0.20 mg/100g); calcium (72.4 ± 0.22 mg/100g) and potassium (22.89 ± 1.7 mg/100g).
In view of the nutritional qualities of Rhynchophorus phoenicis (F) larva and the high level of consumption of this larvae in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria, this study is therefore aimed at the production of the larvae into a paste, investigating the utilization of the paste as a filler for pies and sandwich and finally to evaluate the sensory and general acceptability of the products (pies and sandwich) when compared to commercially produced samples.
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(Author: David B. Kiin-Kabari, Ogbonda K.H