Protein quality and physicochemical properties of commercial cricket and mealworm powders
The pressing need for protein supply growth gives rise to alternative protein sources, such as insect proteins. Commercial cricket and mealworm powders were examined for their protein quality, surface charge and functional attributes. Both insect powders had similar proximate compositions with protein and ash contents of ~ 66% db (dry weight basis) and 5% db, respectively, however cricket powder contained more lipid (16.1%, db) than mealworm powder (13.7%, db). Mealworm protein had an amino acid score of 0.71 and was first limiting in lysine, whereas cricket protein was first limiting in tryptophan with an amino acid score of 0.85. In vitro protein digestibility values of 75.7% and 76.2%, and in vitro protein digestibility corrected amino acid scores of 0.54 and 0.65, were obtained for mealworm and cricket powders, respectively. Zeta potential measurements gave isoelectric points near pH 3.9 for both insect powders. Mealworm and cricket powders had water hydration capacities of 1.62 g/g and 1.76 g/g, respectively, and oil holding capacities of 1.58 g/g and 1.42 g/g, respectively. Both insect proteins had low solubility (22–30%) at all pHs (3.0, 5.0, and 7.0) measured. Cricket powder had a foaming capacity of 82% and foam stability of 86%, whereas mealworm powder was non-foaming. Values for commercial pea and faba bean protein concentrates were reported for comparative purposes. The insect proteins had similar protein quality as the pulse proteins and had higher solubility at pH 5.0 but were much less soluble at pH 7.0.
KeywordsCricket protein Mealworm protein Insects Pulse protein Protein quality Functionality
Financial support for this research was provided through the Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture Strategic Research Chair Program in Protein Quality and Utilization. Special thanks to Kelsey Waelchli and Renbo Xu who provided laboratory support.
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