Production and valorisation of high quality proteins from insects

There is a growing demand for proteins to feed the increasing world population. It is estimated that the world population in 2050 will be around 9 billion and that 70% more food is necessary. Insects can serve as an alternative protein source. Their  nutritional value  is comparable to conventional meat, and their production more sustainable. Although 80% of the world population consumes insects already occasionally, consumers in most Western countries are reluctant  to consume such protein sources. This might change when the protein is added as an ingredient, so that the insect is not recognisable as such.

To use the insect proteins as a food ingredient, it is necessary to maintain their techno-functional properties. For this, protein extraction from the whole insect under mild extraction conditions is essential to preserve the characteristics of the native protein.
Preliminary experiments have shown that substantial enzymatic browning occurred during grinding of insects, activated in insects as a defence reaction during wounding.

The objective of this research is to extract and characterize the water-soluble proteins efficiently from insects, while preventing browning.  

During this research, the focus will be on large scale extraction while preventing undesired reaction like browning. This extraction process will be optimized. The next step focusses on isolation and characterization of the insects protein. Finally, techno-functional properties of insect proteins will be investigated.