American Journal of Agricultural and Biological Sciences

The Yellow Mealworm as a Novel Source of Protein

A. E. Ghaly and F. N. Alkoaik

DOI : 10.3844/ajabssp.2009.319.331

American Journal of Agricultural and Biological Sciences

Volume 4, Issue 4

Pages 319-331


Problem statement: Yellow mealworms of different sizes (4.8-182.7 mg) were grown in a medium of wheat flour and brewers 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.


© 2009 A. E. Ghaly and F. N. Alkoaik. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.