Nitrogen-to-Protein Conversion Factors for Three Edible Insects: Tenebrio molitor, Alphitobius diaperinus, and Hermetia illucens

Renske H. Janssen, Jean Paul Vincken, Lambertus A.M. van den Broek, Vincenzo Fogliano, Catriona M.M. Lakemond*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

100 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Insects are considered a nutritionally valuable source of alternative proteins, and their efficient protein extraction is a prerequisite for large-scale use. The protein content is usually calculated from total nitrogen using the nitrogen-to-protein conversion factor (Kp) of 6.25. This factor overestimates the protein content, due to the presence of nonprotein nitrogen in insects. In this paper, a specific Kp of 4.76 ± 0.09 was calculated for larvae from Tenebrio molitor, Alphitobius diaperinus, and Hermetia illucens, using amino acid analysis. After protein extraction and purification, a Kp factor of 5.60 ± 0.39 was found for the larvae of three insect species studied. We propose to adopt these Kp values for determining protein content of insects to avoid overestimation of the protein content.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2275-2278
JournalJournal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry
Volume65
Issue number11
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Keywords

  • Alphitobius diaperinus
  • amino acids
  • black soldier fly
  • edible insects
  • Hermetia illucens
  • lesser mealworm
  • nitrogen-to-protein conversion factor (Kp)
  • protein extraction
  • Tenebrio molitor
  • yellow mealworm

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