Entomophagy is proclaimed as an efficient nutritional strategy due to the high contents of proteins and minerals in edible insects. In particular, it is seen as an efficient strategy for increasing the dietary intake of nutrients that are frequently deficient.
The objectives of this work were to determine the contents of fourteen minerals in four insect species namely, house cricket (Acheta domestica), yellow mealworm beetle (Tenebrio molitor), desert locust (Schistocerca gregaria), and super mealworm (Zophobas morio) and to assess these insect species as sources of minerals with respect to the dietary recommended values (DRV) for such minerals. Elements of high nutritional importance, such as iron (Fe), zinc (Zn), and calcium (Ca), and those presenting potential risks with respect to toxicity, such as cadmium (Cd), and lead (Pb), were the main focus of this study.
Samples were analyzed by means of high-resolution continuum source graphite furnace atomic absorption spectrometry (HR-CS GF-AAS), and flame atomic absorption/emission spectrometry (F-AAS/AES).
According to our results, the consumption of a single portion (100 g) of some insect species would provide more than the DRV for zinc (Zn), copper (Cu), and phosphorus (P); about 63–82 % of the DRV for Fe; and only about 16–23 % of the DRV for calcium (Ca). The high contents of P found in some species also result in low Ca to P ratios for those insects, which may significantly affect Ca absorption. Finally, the low cadmium (Cd) and lead (Pb) contents obtained in this work indicate that the consumption of the given insect species presents little if no risk.