Nutritional composition and safety aspects of edible insects

Mol Nutr Food Res. 2013 May;57(5):802-23. doi: 10.1002/mnfr.201200735. Epub 2013 Mar 8.


Insects, a traditional food in many parts of the world, are highly nutritious and especially rich in proteins and thus represent a potential food and protein source. A compilation of 236 nutrient compositions in addition to amino acid spectra and fatty acid compositions as well as mineral and vitamin contents of various edible insects as derived from literature is given and the risks and benefits of entomophagy are discussed. Although the data were subject to a large variation, it could be concluded that many edible insects provide satisfactorily with energy and protein, meet amino acid requirements for humans, are high in MUFA and/or PUFA, and rich in several micronutrients such as copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorous, selenium, and zinc as well as riboflavin, pantothenic acid, biotin, and in some cases folic acid. Liabilities of entomophagy include the possible content of allergenic and toxic substances as well as antinutrients and the presence of pathogens. More data are required for a thorough assessment of the nutritional potential of edible insects and proper processing and decontamination methods have to be developed to ensure food safety.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acids / analysis
  • Animals
  • Dietary Fats / analysis
  • Dietary Proteins / analysis*
  • Folic Acid / analysis
  • Insecta / chemistry*
  • Nutritive Value*
  • Trace Elements / analysis*
  • Vitamins / administration & dosage
  • Vitamins / analysis*


  • Amino Acids
  • Dietary Fats
  • Dietary Proteins
  • Trace Elements
  • Vitamins
  • Folic Acid