Beetles instead of meat: Russian scientists figured out how to feed the Russians


This was stated by the head of the laboratory for assessing the safety of biotechnology and new food sources, Nadezhda Tyshko.

The Asian and Latin American world has long appreciated the taste of insects. Those who have been to the countries of the Pacific region have probably met the ruins with fried beetles, larvae, caterpillars, grasshoppers, cockroaches. There it is quite a familiar delicacy, which does not cause either bewilderment or disgust in anyone.

In Europe, this trend is just beginning. For us, eating bugs for breakfast and cockroaches for lunch has not yet become the norm, but only for now.

The world’s population is growing rapidly (today we are already 9 billion), while food for everyone is running out. First of all, there is an acute shortage of protein – a vital element. There is a famous phrase that life is the existence of protein molecules. Protein has a huge number of functions: transport, construction, regulation, etc. Its deficiency must be replenished.

“Already at the turn of the 20th century, the deficit of food protein in the world was about 20,000 tons per year, and that of feed protein was about 40-50 tons. The goal is to increase the production of food protein to 200,000 tons by 2050, which is a lot. And you need to understand that that it is difficult to do this using the old methods – we will not increase either the amount of agricultural land or the amount of land for grazing livestock. Therefore, there is a need to look for new sources of protein,” says Nadezhda Tyshko.

The expert says that throughout history, humanity has tried to expand its food base, it has become part of our eating habits. And, of course, a person looked in the direction of insects, and in other places he included them in his diet a long time ago. In the countries of the Pacific region, South America, Africa, the history of the safe use of insects for food goes back thousands of years. It is more difficult for us to get used to such food – therefore, before sprinkling ground insects on scrambled eggs or adding them to sausage, scientists should comprehensively study them from a safety point of view in order to prevent all possible risks. This is what they do in the laboratory of Nadezhda Tyshko.

In the world today there are about 3 thousand species of insects that are used for food. Most often these are tropical species. But there is, for example, a large flour beetle, which is found in our middle lane. “We conducted a study of toxicity, allergenicity and biological value of the larvae of the tropical black soldier fly on three generations of rats. Now we are considering crickets, a large flour beetle and a zophobus (beetle of the dark beetle family) for new studies.

In total, we have about 15 species of insects in research, but only the black lionfish has gone through the full cycle. We are also studying what is allowed in Europe – three types of food insects are approved there: a large flour beetle, a tar-brown beetle, and a house cricket,” says Nadezhda Tyshko.

But in what form will insects be the ultimate food for us? “At first, we thought that an insect larva was taken, dried, ground, and added somewhere. But as part of the research, we realized that the product should be separated. For example, how soy beans are divided into parts: oil, protein, isolate are isolated separately.

Most likely, with regard to insects, there will be something like this: we will divide them into parts and create separate products for food use. There are technologies for protein isolation, but they need to be improved,” the expert says. And he clarifies that in the end, the protein from insects will be a white powder without taste and smell, such as casein or soy isolate. This, by the way, is sold In China, most likely insect protein will be used to enrich specialized foods, or even ordinary sausage.

“Today, many people have a deficiency of protein and vitamins, so the future belongs to foods with an enriched composition. After all, it is difficult for the layman to make a balanced diet without knowledge of dietary laws, and few people bother with it. Therefore, foods that contain all the necessary proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins , macro- and microelements are the way out,” Tishko believes.

Of course, labeling “with added homemade cricket protein” may turn some consumers away from the product. However, Nadezhda Tishko says that even today in Moscow there are restaurants serving insects – and people really go there: “The population needs to be educated and prepared in advance, that we have all researched that it is safe and healthy. on the other hand, all the conservatism of a person is manifested in nutrition – we can not change our eating habits for years, eat porridge for breakfast, mother’s cutlets for lunch, although otherwise be progressive, look for new models of gadgets, experiment with clothes. “

According to the expert, it will take at least another three years for food with insects to reach store shelves. And, although insects are the focus of attention of scientists today, work to find new sources of food is being carried out in other directions.

New agronomic methods are being sought, new ways of storing and transporting products in order to reduce losses, and the gene pool of animal husbandry and crop production is being improved. Another promising new food source is microbial synthesis protein. “This direction has been studied in Russia since the 60s of the last century, but then the project was closed, and now it is being revived again. Meat from a test tube is also being considered, these are cellular technologies: cultures of myocytes are grown to the size of a hamburger. The technology is being studied, we are up to research the matter has not yet reached: everything is very expensive. For now, such a hamburger costs like a gold bar, so it is not economically feasible to produce it. But over time, it will become cheaper, “says Nadezhda Tyshko.

In general, scientists guarantee that we will not be left without food in the future.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *