The protein transition requires new and sustainable protein sources, such as edible insects. Insects have a low environmental impact and a high protein content. However, the edible insect industry is—especially in the Western world—quite new with many “unknowns”. Eating familiar products containing insects in unrecognisable form is currently more acceptable for Western consumers than consuming whole insects. Therefore, biofractionation to obtain insect-based ingredients and their functionalities is relevant. The current industrial processing of edible insects severely impairs the functional properties of the insect proteins. Mild alternative methods are expected to retain the physicochemical and functional properties of insect properties to a larger extent. This project will increase the—currently limited—scientific knowledge on the effects of these mild alternative methods on insects proteins. This allows the developing insect industry to design insect processing methods targeted at specific food applications.
The overall aim of this project is to study the effects of mild alternative methods that retain to a larger extent the physicochemical and functional properties of the insect proteins in comparison to traditional processing methods.
Lesser mealworm larvae (Alphitobius diaperinus) and adult house crickets (Acheta domesticus) will be used in this project. Several milder processing methods will be used to process insects into a protein extract. These methods include filtration, HPP, fermentation, and dry fractionation. The current state of dry fractionation on animal products in literature will also be evaluated.