European Food Research and Technology

, Volume 244, Issue 1, pp 19–29 | Cite as

Biochemical and sensory characteristics of the cricket and mealworm fractions from supercritical carbon dioxide extraction and air classification

  • Mika H. Sipponen
  • Outi E. Mäkinen
  • Katariina Rommi
  • Raija-Liisa Heiniö
  • Ulla Holopainen-Mantila
  • Sanna Hokkanen
  • Terhi K. Hakala
  • Emilia Nordlund
Original Paper


Insects represent a sustainable but under-exploited food resource partly due to the chitin-containing exoskeleton and also the high lipid content that hamper the production of food ingredients. Here we present dry fractionation technology for upgrading house crickets (Acheta domesticus) and yellow mealworm larvae (Tenebrio molitor) by extraction with supercritical carbon dioxide followed by separation to fine and coarse fractions by air classification. The defatted insects contained 73–79% crude protein that was partially fractionated by air classification to protein-enriched fractions containing less chitin. In addition to the significant difference in the coarse mouthfeel between the fine and coarse fractions, the fine fraction of crickets was perceived saltier and more intense in flavour, and the fine fraction of mealworms having more meat-like flavour than the coarse fraction. Thus, it seems that the fractionation process has a clear impact on the texture (coarseness), but the flavour characteristics could be varied according to the insect variety. Overall, the dry fractionation technology holds promising prospects for the production of insect-based food ingredients that are modified in their chitin content and flavour intensity, does not contain identifiable anatomical parts, and thus, could better meet consumer acceptance.


Crickets Mealworms Air classification Protein Chitin Sensory quality 



Ilkka Kajala is acknowledged for assistance in air classification trials and Heli Nygren for amino acid analysis. This research did not receive any specific grant from funding agencies in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest


Compliance with ethics requirements

The sensory evaluation was done with a trained human panel with 10 assessors at the sensory laboratory of VTT, which fulfils the requirements of the ISO standards (ISO 2005 and 2007). The panelists were informed about the source of the samples prior to the analysis. The samples were produced with food-grade facilities. The sensory evaluation was done with taste and spit assay, i.e. the samples were not swallowed.

Supplementary material

217_2017_2931_MOESM1_ESM.docx (6.3 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 6438 kb)


  1. 1.
    Bodenheimer FS (1951) Insects as human food; a chapter of the ecology of man. Dr. W. Junk Publishers, The Hague, p 352CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Rumpold BA, Schlüter O (2015) Insect-based protein sources and their potential for human consumption: nutritional composition and processing. Anim Front. doi: 10.2527/af.2015-0015 Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    DeFoliart GR (1999) Insects as food: why the western attitude is important. Annu Rev Entomol 44:21–50. doi: 10.1146/annurev.ento.44.1.21 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Sun-Waterhouse D, Waterhouse GIN, You L et al (2016) Transforming insect biomass into consumer wellness foods: a review. Food Res Int. doi: 10.1016/j.foodres.2016.10.001 Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    van Huis A (2013) Potential of insects as food and feed in assuring food security. Annu Rev Entomol 58:563–583. doi: 10.1146/annurev-ento-120811-153704 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    van Huis A (2015) Edible insects contributing to food security? Agric Food Secur 4:20. doi: 10.1186/s40066-015-0041-5 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Tan HSG, Verbaan YT, Stieger M (2017) How will better products improve the sensory-liking and willingness to buy insect-based foods? Food Res Int 92:95–105. doi: 10.1016/j.foodres.2016.12.021 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Kramer KJ, Hopkins TL, Schaefer J (1995) Applications of solids NMR to the analysis of insect sclerotized structures. Insect Biochem Mol Biol 25:1067–1080. doi: 10.1016/0965-1748(95)00053-4 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Finke MD (2007) Estimate of chitin in raw whole insects. Zoo Biol 26:105–115. doi: 10.1002/zoo CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Finke MD (2002) Complete nutrient composition of commercially raised invertebrates used as food for insectivores. Zoo Biol 21:269–285. doi: 10.1002/zoo.10031 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Nowak V, Persijn D, Rittenschober D, Charrondiere UR (2016) Review of food composition data for edible insects. Food Chem 193:39–46. doi: 10.1016/j.foodchem.2014.10.114 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Yi L, Lakemond CMM, Sagis LMC et al (2013) Extraction and characterisation of protein fractions from five insect species. Food Chem 141:3341–3348. doi: 10.1016/j.foodchem.2013.05.115 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Schutyser MAI, Van Der Goot AJ (2011) The potential of dry fractionation processes for sustainable plant protein production. Trends Food Sci Technol 22:154–164. doi: 10.1016/j.tifs.2010.11.006 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Sibakov J (2014) Processing of oat dietary fibre for improved functionality as a food ingredient, vol 67. VTT Science, Espoo, p 166Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Sipponen MH, Pihlajaniemi V, Vainio H et al (2016) Integrating the opposites of biofuel production: absorption of short-chain alcohols into oleaginous yeast cells for butanol recovery and wet-extraction of microbial oil. Green Chem 18:2775–2781. doi: 10.1039/C5GC03008K CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Suutari M, Liukkonen K, Laakso S (1990) Temperature adaptation in yeasts: the role of fatty acids. J Gen Microbiol 136:1469–1474. doi: 10.1099/00221287-136-8-1469 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Jaakola S, Vahvaselkä M, Laakso S (2005) Effect of CLA on the cellular lipids of Saccharomyces cerevisiae. JAOCS, J Am Oil Chem Soc 82:745–748. doi: 10.1007/s11746-005-1137-7 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Janssen RH, Vincken J-P, van den Broek LAM et al (2017) Nitrogen-to-protein conversion factors for three edible insects: tenebrio molitor, Alphitobius diaperinus and Hermetia illucens. J Agric Food Chem 65:2275–2278. doi: 10.1021/acs.jafc.7b00471 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Osborne TB, Mendel LB (1919) The nutritive value of the wheat kernel and its milling products. J Biol Chem 37:557–601Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Arroyo-Begovich A, Cárabez-Trejo A, Ruíz-Herrera J (1980) Identification of the structural component in the cyst wall of Entamoeba invadens. J Parasitol 66:735–741CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Lawless HT, Heymann H (2010) Sensory evaluation of food principles and practises, descriptive analysis, 2nd edn. Chapman & Hall/Aspen Publishers Inc., GaithersburgGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Ramos-Bueno RP, González-Fernández MJ, Sánchez-Muros-Lozano MJ et al (2016) Fatty acid profiles and cholesterol content of seven insect species assessed by several extraction systems. Eur Food Res Technol 242:1471–1477. doi: 10.1007/s00217-016-2647-7 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Simopoulos AP (2002) The importance of the ratio of omega-6/omega-3 essential fatty acids. Biomed Pharmacother 56:365–379. doi: 10.1016/S0753-3322(02)00253-6 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Montanari L, Fantozzi P, Snyder JM, King JW (1999) Selective extraction of phospholipids from soybeans with supercritical carbon dioxide and ethanol. J Supercrit Fluids 14:87–93. doi: 10.1016/S0896-8446(98)00110-7 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Tanaka Y, Sakaki I, Ohkubo T (2004) Extraction of phospholipids from salmon roe with supercritical carbon dioxide and an entrainer. J Oleo Sci 53:417–424. doi: 10.5650/jos.53.417 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Soh L, Zimmerman J (2011) Biodiesel production: the potential of algal lipids extracted with supercritical carbon dioxide. Green Chem 13:1422–1429. doi: 10.1039/C1GC15068E CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Mariod AA (2013) Insect oil and protein: biochemistry, food and other uses: review. Agric Sci 4:76–80Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    Vincent JFV, Wegst UGK (2004) Design and mechanical properties of insect cuticle. Arthropod Struct Dev 33:187–199. doi: 10.1016/j.asd.2004.05.006 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Levy-Sakin M, Scherzer-Attali R, Gazit E (2012) Modifiers of protein aggregation—from nonspecific to specific interactions. In: Schweitzer-Stenner R (ed) Protein peptide folding, misfolding, non-folding. John Wiley & Sons Inc, Hoboken, pp 441–478CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Payne CLR, Scarborough P, Rayner M, Nonaka K (2016) A systematic review of nutrient composition data available for twelve commercially available edible insects, and comparison with reference values. Trends Food Sci Technol 47:69–77. doi: 10.1016/j.tifs.2015.10.012 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    van Straaten M, Goulding D, Kolmerer B et al (1999) Association of kettin with actin in the Z-disc of insect flight muscle. J Mol Biol 285:1549–1562. doi: 10.1006/jmbi.1998.2386 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    Bullard B, Leonard K (1996) Modular proteins of insect muscle. Adv Biophys 33:211–221. doi: 10.1016/0065-227X(96)81676-5 CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mika H. Sipponen
    • 1
    • 2
  • Outi E. Mäkinen
    • 1
  • Katariina Rommi
    • 1
  • Raija-Liisa Heiniö
    • 1
  • Ulla Holopainen-Mantila
    • 1
  • Sanna Hokkanen
    • 2
  • Terhi K. Hakala
    • 1
  • Emilia Nordlund
    • 1
  1. 1.VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland LtdEspooFinland
  2. 2.Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems, School of Chemical EngineeringAalto UniversityEspooFinland

Personalised recommendations