About this Research Topic
Entomophagy, the practice of eating insects and invertebrates, has accompanied human history through the centuries, playing a significant role in cultural and religious practices. Recently, a new global interest in edible insects and invertebrates has arisen from the absolute necessity to preserve agriculture resources in order to feed the 9 billion world’s population predicted for 2050 and to obtain a drastic reduction of the ecological impact of food from animal sources. EU regulations include most edible insects (e.g., crickets, grasshoppers, silk worms) in the category of novel foods. However, while insects are a common part of the diet for at least 2 billion people worldwide, mostly in Asia, Africa and Central America, in Western countries, entomophagy is often associated with entomophobia (i.e., fear of insects).
From an ecological point of view, insects are characterized by a negligible ecological impact, in terms of carbon, water and ecological footprints. Furthermore, on the basis of their “ingredient” composition, edible insects are not only a protein source but are characterized by an excellent pattern of polyunsaturated fatty acids, vitamins and minerals. Emerging evidence has demonstrated that several species of insects possess a significant antioxidant capacity and therefore may play a functional role in modulating oxidative stress; confirming historic use in traditional medicine from indigenous populations. Whilst the potential for insects to act as a sustainable and functional food is becoming increasingly recognized, relatively little remains known about the food chain, leading edible insects from farm to plate based on developing large scale rearing facilities depending on the geographical regions, and their potential role in human and planet wellbeing.
The aim of this Research Topic is therefore to provide a platform for new research which enhances our understanding of multiple aspects of edible insects. Welcome subtopics in this Research Topic include (but are not limited to):
• Ecological impact of edible insects
• Nutritional and functional properties of edible insects
• Insect physiology and biochemistry
• Insect farming practices and up-scaling
• Consumer acceptance of edible insects
It is our hope that this Research Topic will foster the research of the scientific community on edible insects, amplifying knowledge and providing accurate and valid scientific information to be communicated from the media to the consumers.
Keywords: Edible Insects, Entomophagy, Functional Food, Sustainability, Novel Foods
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.