Food value of termites (isoptera: termitidae) in Western Kenya: comparison with tilapia fish and red meat.

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Nyukuri, R.W.
Mwale, R. E.
Kirui, C.S.
Cheramgoi, E.
Koskei, G. C.
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International Journal of Scholarly Research Gate
Kenya faces acute food shortages to satisfy the increasing population as traditional food stocks continue to be depleted as a result of environmental changes and increasing population. Faced with problems of food insecurity, increasing food prices and over-reliance on the traditional food items, there is an urgent need for Kenyans to diversify their food sources. In western Kenya, the white ants have a long history of consumption as a delicacy during the rainy seasons. A major problem is that the white ants are varied in species and may not all contain the ingredients required by humans for nutrition. There are also very few studies that have attempted to evaluate the totality of white ants in Kenya. The aim of this study was to determine the food value of the white ants in Western Kenya. This was done with an overall aim of determining whether white ants can be declared as an alternative food source in Kenya. Data were collected and analyzed for proximate composition of moisture, protein, lipids, crude fiber. Essential Amino Acid (EAA) profiles were evaluated to determine protein composition. Food value of the different species was analyzed by Analysis of Variance (ANOVA).Results indicated that white ants have high levels of moisture content of 90.2% crude protein (64%),crude lipids (9.35%),crude fibre (9.53),gross energy of 4.99 kcal and the essential amino acids at 31.5g/100g. Due to the conditions of families in Kenya this can be a substitute for the sources of protein substitute for red beef and Tilapia fish meals preferred by many households. The profile of Essential Amino Acid in the current study was found to be high and therefore white ants formed a very good source of essential amino acid to the local people. This study therefore concludes that white ants are suitable alternative food source to replace major protein food and nutritionists should start a campaign of making the white ants a delicacy. Given that white ants are neglected food in Kenya, it is recommended that the food items should be consumed as one of the food in the traditional diets in areas where the species occur.
Nyukuri, R.W., Mwale, R.E., Kirui, S.C., Cheramgoi, E., Koskei G.C.