Effect of insect host trees on omega-3 fatty acids and polyunsaturated fatty acids of Eulepida sp

Edible insects consumption is a traditional practise in many African, Asian and Latin America communities. Researches done across the world have proved that edible insect species are good sources of protein, fats and micronutrients. However there is high variability in the nutritional values of the insects. The nutritional value of insects depends on the species, insect life stage, habitat, type of feed of the insects, and the method of cooking. Eulepida sp. are indigenous edible species which has been part of entomophagy practiced in certain parts of Zimbabwe. To date, the contribution of the essential fatty acids provided by these insects to human nutrition have not received much research attention. Two tree species, Brachystegia spiciformis and Julbernardia globiflora have been reported to be host plants of Eulepida sp.

To investigate the effect of host tree on omega-3 and polyunsaturated fatty acids content of Eulepida sp. The content of these fatty acids will be quantified in the triglyceride and in the phospholipid fraction of the insect lipids.

Insect lipid will be extracted and separated into triacylglycerols and phospholipids by solid phase extraction (SPME). This separation will be followed by determination of fatty acid composition of triacylglycerols and phospholipids by gas-chromatography. Identification of phospholipids will be performed by HPLC. Determination of fatty acid composition of the insect feed (host tree leaves) will be performed and the influenced of feed on fatty acid composition of Eulepida sp. will be assessed.