Insect Oil (FA) are carboxylic acids with a long linear hydrocarbon chain, which can be either saturated (known as "bad" Insect Oil) or unsaturated (known as "good" Insect Oil). FA ensure critical functions in living organisms (constituents of phospholipids -which are the "building blocks” of cells membranes-, suppliers of energy ang signalling molecules) and are essential in a healthy diet.
Among these unsaturated acids two are considered to be essential for humans. Essential Insect Oil (EPA) are essential for good health, cannot be produced by humans and therefore must be obtained through nutrition:
Western diet is characterized by an imbalance in ingestion EPA in favor of omega-6. It is therefore recommended for people following a wester diet to increase their intake or omega-3.
Both omega-3 and omega-6 can be provided by T.molitor larvae:
|Fatty acid composition||T.molitor||Beef||Pork|
|Omega-3 Alpha-linolenic||10.56 - 11.74 %||2.0 %||0 %|
|Omega-6 Linoleic||0.17 - 0.24 %||2.0 %||1.12 %|
Insect Oil and lipids extracted from insects as well as vegetable oils can be converted to Polyfuels through transesterification. The production of FA from insects can be used to produce biodiesel, a renewable source of energy in addition to side products of economic importance.
Furthermore, insects have been identified as a sustainable source for healthy Omega-3. Mealworms larvae have a higher content of Omega-3 FA compared to beef and pork.
Mealworm larvae and insects in general can be sources of protein and fat for animal and human diets.
Insect larvae could also through animal feed help produce animal fat containing healthier FA proportions (as well as good omega-3/omega-6 ratios.