Research Article Open Access

The Yellow Mealworm as a Novel Source of Protein

A. E. Ghaly1 and F. N. Alkoaik2
  • 1 Department of Biological Engineering, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
  • 2 Department of Agricultural engineering, College of Food and Agricultural Sciences, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia


Problem statement: Yellow mealworms of different sizes (4.8-182.7 mg) were grown in a medium of wheat flour and brewer’s yeast (95:5 by weight) to evaluate their potential as a protein source. Approach: There was an initial adjustment period (3-9 days) observed during which the younger larvae (4.8-61.1 mg) grew slowly while the older ones (80.3-182.7 mg) lost weight. After this initial period, the younger larvae (4.8-122.1 mg) increased in weight while the older ones (139.6-182.7 mg) continued to lose weight as they entered the pupal stage. For efficient production of larvae, they should be harvested at a weight of 100-110 mg. The moisture issue in the medium presents an important management problem for commercial production. Results: A system in which eggs are separate from adults and hatched in separate chambers would alleviate the danger of losing the larval population due to microbial infection. The moisture, ash, protein and fat contents were 58.1-61.5, 1.8-2.2, 24.3-27.6 and 12.0-12.5%, respectively. Yellow mealworms seem to be a promising source of protein for human consumption with the required fat and essential amino acids. Further research into raising them on a variety of low quality substances/wastes such as saw dust, waste paper, corn starch and potato flour is recommended. Conclusion/Recommendations: The future research should also investigate the nutrition content of the medium (minerals, protein, fat, carbohydrates and vitamins) and the effect of environmental parameters (temperature, humidity, production of CO2 and heat) on protein yield and quality. This information will aid in the design of an economically viable large scale production system.

American Journal of Agricultural and Biological Sciences
Volume 4 No. 4, 2009, 319-331


Published On: 31 December 2009

How to Cite: Ghaly, A. E. & Alkoaik, F. N. (2009). The Yellow Mealworm as a Novel Source of Protein. American Journal of Agricultural and Biological Sciences, 4(4), 319-331.

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  • Entomophagy
  • insects
  • yellow mealworm
  • wheat flour
  • yeast
  • growth rate
  • protein
  • amino acids
  • fat
  • essential elements
  • human food
  • fat
  • protein