Nutrient Composition and Bioactive Components of Mopane Worm (Gonimbrasia belina)

  • Raphael KwiriEmail author
  • Felix M. Mujuru
  • Wishmore Gwala


Mopane worm Gonimbrasia (Imbrasia) belina is of economic and nutritional significance mainly in Southern Africa, where it forms part of people’s diet. The mopane worm is found in mopane woodlands characterized by the mopane tree (Colophospermum mopane) from where the caterpillar entirely derives its nutrition. Generally, its nutritional value is quite diverse due to the stage of metamorphosis, insect’s origin, diet, preparation and processing methods. Mopane worms are nutritionally rich in protein content (approx. 58% dwb and 428.52 mg/g dry weight of the total protein), fat content (approx. 15% dwb of which 38% fatty acids are saturated and 62% are unsaturated), carbohydrates (approx. 8% dwb) and considerable proportions of minerals (approx. 1.335% dwb). Importantly, mopane worm contains significant amounts of fibre commonly chitin and possibly some bioactive compounds and antinutrional factors, though this has not yet established; hence, a study to ascertain their levels is vital. However, looking at the future mopane worm is under threat due to deforestation, human pressure, as populations grow, and erratic weather patterns and participation in the mopane worm trade increase. Additionally, mopane worm provides a favourable environment for microbial survival and growth, thus increasing the possibility of being spoiled and infected by pathogenic micro-organisms, such as fungi and their subsequent toxins such as aflatoxins. As such, intervention strategies such as food safety awareness and subsequent HACCP implementation are necessary so as to improve product safety. Legislative aspects and rural community support are critical and a necessity for sustainable production of mopane worm and subsequent utilization of the insect as a potential source of proteins and minerals in food items such as FBFs.


Bioactive components Insects Mopane worm (G. BelinaNutrient composition 



Dry weight basis


Food and Agriculture Organization


Fortified blended foods


Hazard analysis critical control point


Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry (Namibia)


Non-governmental organization


Non-timber forest products


United Nations


World Health Organization


Wageningen University and Research


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Raphael Kwiri
    • 1
    Email author
  • Felix M. Mujuru
    • 1
  • Wishmore Gwala
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Food Processing Technology, School of Industrial Science and TechnologyHarare Institute of TechnologyBelvedereZimbabwe

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