May 28th 2021

Technofunctional properties of the mealworm protein

Extraction behavior of mealworm protein being studied as part of a master's thesis

Achim Gronbach, Master student Food Technology & Nutrition, is studying in the 4th semester and presents us in this article the topic of his Master thesis:

Nowadays, sustainability considerations are more than ever an integral part of many scientific disciplines.
As part of my master's thesis in the field of food technology and nutrition, I am working on the technological properties of mealworms (Tenebrio molitor), the larvae of the flour beetle. Mealworms were successfully approved as food by the European Commission in the EU at the beginning of May 2021, thanks to a large amount of research. But industrial use is integral to claiming the environmental and socioeconomic benefits of insects as a food source. In addition to valuable components such as dietary fiber and a high content of unsaturated fatty acids, the main component of the insect, with a proportionate share of ~ 58.4%, is protein.

The next hurdle is the need to make this sustainable raw material applicable. The technofunctional properties already explored are of high quality and promising. However, the known range of applications is expandable.
The focus of my master thesis is on the extraction and subsequent investigation of the enzymatic and fermentative modification of the protein components. The aim is to expand the application spectra of insect protein by modifying the technofunctional properties. This should

enable a more varied spectrum of products for a sustainable and balanced diet.

Achim Gronbach