ESA Annual Meetings Online Program

Team 1 (University of Kentucky), Topic 1: What is the best individual solution to feeding the world's growing population?

Tuesday, November 13, 2012: 1:55 PM
Lecture Hall, Floor Two (Knoxville Convention Center)
Meghan M. Curry , Entomology, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY
Sydney Crawley , Entomology, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY
Megha Kalsi , University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY
Abiya Saeed , Entomology, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY
Bethany Hunt , Department of Entomology, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY
Entomophagy has been practiced for millennia, and is a legitimate solution for feeding the expanding human population.  Insects fill nutritional gaps in developing countries that staple foods with low bioavailability cannot.  Insects are excellent sources of macromolecules, vitamins, minerals and trace elements.  Notably, the average protein content per serving of insects often exceeds pork, dairy, and poultry.  The consumption of insects is commonplace in many areas of the developing world, although the practice is declining.  However, case studies from groups that still practice entomophagy provide valuable insight into the benefits of its practice.  By disseminating the knowledge gained from such studies, industrialized countries might begin to consider entomophagy acceptable.  This would allow regions that have historically relied on insects for food to preserve an important aspect of their culture.  From an economic standpoint, the production of insects for food can improve the lives of millions by providing countless jobs in areas such as insect rearing, production, and collection while also creating a demand for additional forest management professionals, environmentalists, and entomologists.  Environmentally speaking, the impact of insect rearing and collection is far less than that of factory farming or monoculture.  Insects are more efficient than traditional livestock at converting feed into protein, and harvesting crop pests from traditional agricultural systems would result in reduced pesticide use.  All benefits combined, the practice of entomophagy would promote enhanced nutrition, preservation of culture and history in the developing world, opportunity for economic growth, and an ecologically sustainable solution for feeding the human population.
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