Insects as Food from Deserted Areas in Mexico
Introduction: A large amount of people in semi desert zones live in poverty due to shortage production of food, hence they do not have adequate foodstuff supply, situation that lead to a high index of malnutrition. Semi desert zone at Hidalgo State (north-east of Actopan, Hidalgo) is not suitable for crops, however, flora of Xerophit Thicket mainly Opuntia spp, Agave spp, mezquite trees (Prosopis velutina) and huizache shrubs (Acacia farnesiana L.), are appropriate for the reproduction under critical climate and soil conditions of several species of insects that, even though they are a good source of nutrients that would help to low down malnutrition, are not consumed on regular basis by locals.
Aims: The aim of this paper is to detect the edible insects from an arid zone of the State of Hidalgo, assess their macronutrient value and deliver that information to the local population.
Place and Duration of Study: Convenience sampling of wild insects were provided at an arid zone of the Hidalgo State, northeast of Actopan city located 2,100 masl with an arid and semiarid climate throughout 2015.
Methodology: Macronutrient content of insects from different order (three species of Lepidoptera, two species of Coleoptera, three species of Hymenoptera, one of Orthoptera and one of Hemiptera) were analyzed according to AOAC (1995) methods [1-3].
Results: Results ranged as follows: proteins from 9.85% to 74.85%; lipids from 5.85% to 55.85%, total ashes from 2.95% to 7.15%; fiber from 0.72% to 6.75% and soluble carbohydrates from 8.87% to 79.16%. Data showed that insects have good nutritional values. Their reproduction is seasonal but some species can be found all year long and hence represent good alternative to provide food security.
Conclusion: Wild insects collected in an arid zone of Hidalgo State showed adequate chemical composition values for human diet, with significant levels of proteins, low dietary fiber content, high values of fatty acids essential for nutrition and minerals. These small wild animals are a promising source of food to overcome malnutrition problems faced by poor population and provide food security.
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