Insects are the largest group of organisms in nature, nearly 1 million known species, accounting for 60% of the total species biological. There are now more than 3650 species that can be eaten. Human insectivorous can be traced back to 3000 years ago, there are still a insectivorous customs in minority areas in china. With the population, food, energy and other issues become increasingly prominent, insects as an important food resource was re-recognized and valued. A series of studies on the species, distribution and nutritive value of edible insects were carried out. Insect food will become a new industry in 21 Century.
- History and custom insectivorous.
According to statistics, the history of insectivores of Chinese can be traced back to 3000 years ago. Families of various regions have formed a lot of insectivorous customs. For example, a small minority in the southwest region, the climate is warm, lush vegetation, insect resources are very rich. Many locals eat insects every day. Some special areas even use insects as a main food to entertain guests from afar. In addition to, it is the custom of Sichuan, Guizhou, Hunan and other places to use the insect excrement as a tea for guests to drink.
- Edible insect resources
It is reported that the world has identified more than 3650 kinds of insects can be eaten. With the deeper study of insect resources, the types and quantities of edible insects will also be greatly increased. Insects as a rich food resources, not only a wide range, but also the vast population, and most species of insects short growth cycle, breeding speed, adaptability, high food conversion rate, as a human protein resources, has a very large resource advantages. For example, termites, a termite can produce 480-900 eggs per day. Under the condition of adequate temperature and sufficient feed, the eggs sterile maggots, with maggot protein production, can obtain high pure protein. Protein is the necessary material in human body.
- Development of edible insects in China.
The processing of edible insects has a long history. The traditional processing methods are limited to burning, roasting, frying. At present, China for the development and utilization of edible insects mainly include: insect food processing and production, processing and utilization of insect products and insect nutrient development. In order to plan the development of insect resources, the Chinese government set up the Insect Protein Research Institute, the Agricultural University of China set up the Insect Resources Research Office. Working together to explore a variety of edible insect resources. Thus, insect food and insectivorous activities have been slowly into the human food culture and life. Thus, the insect insectivorous food and activities have slowly entered the human food culture and life. Modern people have gradually realized that the future of mankind insects as food is a valuable natural resource. But insects as commercialized, popular food in China are relatively rare. With the increasing population of China and the world, the gradual reduction of arable land, the development of a large number of food sources, such as insects is an important issue in the 21st century.
- Factors restricting the development of insect food
- Restrictions on the traditional concept of diet
China has a long history of eating insects, but no matter in the number of insects or species, so far is still very limited. Most Chinese think of insects as the first reaction is filthy and ugly. Especially for the insect as a whole object directly from the production of insect products, it may require a longer adaptation process to be accepted.
- Related basic research is weak
Although insect food has a long history, as an industry is still just the beginning. Due to the current technical conditions and capital investment is still relatively weak, the body of nutrients and physiological function of active substances insects very superficial. Some insect’s products lack scientific evaluation function, its function is merely to estimate based nutritional ingredients contained in this situation to a large extent limited the market development of insects.
- Poor breeding technology, low degree of industrialization
Among the edible insects, which have been determined so far, it is possible to carry out artificial breeding relatively less, and it is possible to produce less on a large scale. Currently on the market as a food raw material insect, most insects grow in the wild. Due to the greater impact of natural conditions, it is difficult to collect, the formation of industrialization. The wild insect resources influenced by the seasonal and ecological environment, yield a quality are not stable, also cannot meet the requirements of the development of insect food industry.
- Insect product market confusion
According to reports, an insect as the main raw material of food has more than 1000 kinds in the Chinese market, but most of the product quality is not high, seriously damaged the right of consumers. Due to the lack of effective management, many manufacturers produce insect products without standards. In the minds of consumers caused a bad influence. The confusion of market management is the main reason for this phenomenon.
- Countermeasures and Prospects of Edible Insects in China
China is very rich in insect resources, insect food development and utilization has broad prospects. The Government should strengthen the development of insect food research. Strengthen the publicity of food insects, so that people continue to raise awareness, breaking the traditional concept of diet, establish a new concept of diet, so that people generally accept insect products. With rapid population growth, food shortages, improve people’s living standards, the nutritional value of insect food will soon be accepted. Advances in science and technology, insect artificial propagation technology solutions, will promote the development of related insect industry.