Insects are consumed in many parts of the world, but do not form a part of the diet in Western countries. Strong arguments exist to introduce edible insects to the Western world. The global demand for animal protein is increasing. Production of conventional livestock is associated with detrimental effects on the environment. Insects could provide a more sustainable source of animal protein. This thesis focuses on three species of edible mealworms. The possibility to produce mealworms on organic by-products was explored and effects on growth, feed conversion efficiency and nutritional value were determined. In addition, food safety risks associated with edible mealworms, such as mycotoxin contamination and possible allergenicity were explored.
This thesis contributes to the research field of insects as food by demonstrating plasticity in
growth and development, as well as nutritional composition of three mealworm species
when grown on different diets. Furthermore, this thesis adds to the increasingly available data on food safety aspects associated with edible insect consumption.