What Governs Selection and Acceptance of Edible Insect Species?

  • Sampat Ghosh
  • Chuleui Jung
  • V. Benno Meyer-Rochow


Entomophagous habits have undoubtedly accompanied the evolution of humankind from its beginnings. With few exceptions, insects are generally non-toxic, nutritious, abundant and easy to collect. About 2000 species of insects are known to be consumed by different ethnic groups. We explored on what basis insect species might be selected as desirable by human consumers and why in many parts of the world eating insects has become obsolete and even turned into a matter of disgust. Traditions obviously play a role and superstition and taboos will have been major factors. However, climatic and ecological characteristics that influence the locally available food insect spectrum and looks, taste, and feel of an insect are further features that come into play. Not to be neglected either are economic considerations, e.g. the time and cost involved in harvesting, purchasing and preparing food insects, be it by drying, cooking, frying, spicing them up with rare or expensive ingredients, etc. Finally, motivation can be a powerful regulator too and whether or not to ingest an insect can depend on whether the act of consumption occurs out of curiosity or a nutritional need, as a special treat or part of a ritual, treatment of a disorder or directive. In this contribution, we examine the various reasons, e.g. based on tradition, nutrition, ecology and economy, for selection, acceptance or rejection of certain species of insects in different regions and cultures.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sampat Ghosh
    • 1
  • Chuleui Jung
    • 2
    • 1
  • V. Benno Meyer-Rochow
    • 3
    • 4
  1. 1.Agriculture Science and Technology Research InstituteAndong National UniversityAndongRepublic of Korea
  2. 2.Department of Plant MedicineAndong National UniversityAndongRepublic of Korea
  3. 3.Research Institute of Luminous OrganismsTokyoJapan
  4. 4.Department of Genetics and PhysiologyOulu UniversityOuluFinland

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