From: Benjamin Kolb, SciDevNet, More from this Affiliate
Published January 17, 2011 01:58 PM

Eating Insects 'Could Cut Greenhouse Gas Emissions'

Dining on crickets, locusts, or even cockroaches, instead of cattle or pigs, could ease both food insecurity and climate change, according to researchers.


Insects caught in the wild are already eaten widely in the developing world. Now a study says that farming them on a large scale for food would damage the environment far less than equivalent livestock production.

Scientists compared emissions, by livestock and by insects, of the greenhouse gases methane and nitrous oxide, which have a greater warming effect than carbon dioxide. They also measured ammonia production, which harms the environment by acidifying soil and water.

They reared mealworms, locusts and crickets, all of which are consumed around the world, as well as sun beetles and cockroaches, which people do not eat, despite their potential as a protein source, while monitoring the amount of gas produced per kilogram of insect growth.

Compared to cattle, weight for weight, insects emitted 80 times less methane — a gas with 25 times more impact on global temperature levels than carbon dioxide.

And crickets produced 8–12 times less ammonia than pigs.

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