INSECT PROTEIN OFFERS GREATEST CARBON BENEFITS IF EATEN BY PEOPLE, STUDY FINDS

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Insect protein offers the greatest benefits in terms of carbon emissions if it is consumed directly by people, a new study from researchers at two European universities has found.

The findings from the University of Helsinki and LUT University in Finland come soon after the European Union approved insect protein as food, as reported by Sial Paris Newsroom.

The research found that rather than using insect protein to replace soybean meal in animal feed, it is better in terms of carbon emissions if it is used directly as human food.

Insects such as crickets or flies can, the University of Helsinki said in a press release, be consumed fresh or dried, or processed into flour that can be used in bread or pasta.

Professor Bodo Steiner, from the University of Helsinki’s Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry, said in a statement from the university that if insect protein is used in animal feed in place of soybean meal, there are ways to maximise the environmental benefits.

For example, carbon emissions were reduced if “low-value food industry side stream products”, such as catering waste, were used to feed the insects.

INSECT PROTEIN OFFERS GREATEST CARBON BENEFITS IF EATEN BY PEOPLE, STUDY FINDS
The University of Helsinki. Photo courtesy of Linda Tammisto and the University of Helsinki.

In its statement the university said the research findings were “important and timely” because of concerns over forests being destroyed to allow for soybean cultivation.

Such soybeans are, the university noted, “a major protein source for feeding livestock raised to be food for humans”. The new study is published in the Journal of Cleaner Production.

In other research reported by Sial Paris Newsroom, researchers in the Netherlands found that insect protein was easily absorbed by the body and incorporated into muscles.

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