The contribution of wild harvested edible insects (Eulepida mashona and Henicus whellani) to nutrition security in Zimbabwe

Faith A. Manditsera, Pieternel A. Luning, Vincenzo Fogliano, Catriona M.M. Lakemond*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Wild harvested edible insects have potential to contribute to nutrition security, yet their nutritional composition is often unknown. This study investigated the nutritional composition of wild harvested Eulepida mashona (EM) and Henicus whellani (HW) and variation in nutritional composition with respect to geographical place of harvest in Zimbabwe. Proximate and mineral composition, fatty acid, and amino acid profiles were analysed on samples of EM and HW collected at multiple locations from three and two districts in Zimbabwe, respectively. The protein content ranged between 52–56% (EM) and 59–70% (HW). High tryptophan concentration (8.68 mg/g protein) in EM offers possibilities of using these insects in complementing this limiting amino acid in maize, which is the staple food in Zimbabwe. The fat content of both species was low (<10%), but differed significantly between sampling districts. The PUFA/SFA and omega 6/3 ratios of both species are recommendable for a healthy diet. The iron (24.2–52.9 mg/100 g) and zinc content (10.0–20.9 mg/100 g) are high for both species, making them a useful mineral-containing ingredient for food enrichment. Consumption of 50 g of both insect species will contribute on average to 30%, 50%, and 30% of the recommended daily protein, iron, and zinc respectively.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)17-25
JournalJournal of Food Composition and Analysis
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2019


  • Edible insects
  • Entomophagy
  • Eulepida mashona
  • Food analysis
  • Food composition
  • Henicus whellani
  • Nutrition security
  • Nutritional composition
  • Nutritional potential

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