BBSRC GCRF grant. Evaluation the safety and nutritional quality of a novel insect based food product in Benin.

We are establishing the potential use of termite collection as a means of enhancing food security in West Africa. This year, we undertook a three month field trip to Northern Benin. We observed local collection methods and use of termites as a food resource. We established a cheap but effective light trap ($7) that can work off grid and will greatly improve harvesting efficiency from current methods; we will deploy this and test the technology next year. We established links with the local health/malnutrition centre to develop use of termites in aiding against malnourishment in this community. We additionally mapped termite mounds to ascertain the total resource available. We established satellite mapping was not effective, as when mounds are observed, they are commonly not alive. The proportion of dead termite mounds was unexpected, and the cause of mound death is unclear. Finally, we collected and preserved some termites for nutritional analysis; these proved the material was very high in lipid, protein and B vitamins, so represented an excellent nutritional supplement.

Partner organizations

  • International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) (Other, Nigeria)
  • University of Liverpool (Academic, United Kingdom)
  • Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) (Academic, Sweden)
  • Stockholm Environment Institute (Research Institute, Sweden)
Start date 01/01/2018
End date The project is closed: 31/12/2018

Published: Mon 14 Jan 2019.