Maggot sausage and insect ice-cream: Scientists say alternative protein made from BUGS is the future | Daily Mail Online

Maggot sausage and a scoop of insect ice-cream: Scientists claim alternative protein made from BUGS 'needs to be incorporated' to meals to keep up with global meat demand

By James Pero For

Published: 18:53 EDT, 1 May 2019 | Updated: 19:33 EDT, 1 May 2019

To deal with the growing shortfall and adverse impacts of cultivating livestock, scientists are turning to a less utilized form of protein to foot the bill: insects. 

Researchers at the University of Queensland are exploring the use of maggots, locusts, and other insects to develop an array of 'specialty' foods. 

'An overpopulated world is going to struggle to find enough protein unless people are willing to open their minds, and stomachs, to a much broader notion of food,' University of Queensland Meat Science Professor Dr. Louwrens Hoffman said in a statement. 

While maggots are usually a sign that your food has gone back, researchers say they could be the food itself by developing an array of specialty products. Stock image

'Would you eat a commercial sausage made from maggots? What about other insect larvae and even whole insects like locusts?' the researcher adds. 

'The biggest potential for sustainable protein production lies with insects and new plant sources.'

Researchers say while they're pretty sure people won't eat foods made exclusively from bugs, they are beginning to try and incorporate insects into certain food products as a protein supplement. 

Among those cutting-edge treats are insect ice cream and certain chicken products made from the black soldier fly -- the latter of which could help mitigate the environmental effects of the world's voracious chicken consumption. 

Insects are not only abundant but nutritious, which is why some researchers are looking for ways to use them in a variety of food products like ice cream and sausage, seen above

In 2009, the global chicken population was estimated to have grown to 50 billion worldwide. 

'Poultry is a massive industry worldwide and the industry is under pressure to find alternative proteins that are more sustainable, ethical and green than the grain crops currently being used,' he said.

According to their research, chicken products that contain up to 15 percent 'larvae meal' don't compromise the the flavor, tenderness, aroma, or nutrients. 

A black soldier fly was used to help supplement chicken products. Scientists say 15 percent insect meal is the threshold at which the food still retains its smell, taste, and overall feel

As the human population grows the world has begun to take stock of its most important resources, food among them. 

In addition to a potentially waning supply, concern over the consumption of meat has also centered on its ill-effects on the environment. 

Cows in particular have caught the attention of climatologists who say that the cattle industry has contributed to climate change through a number of unintended effects.

One, say scientists, is methane gas -- the second most potent greenhouse gas -- that is released through cow's burps and flatulence. One cow can release between 30-50 gallons of methane in one day and there are an estimated 1.3 to 1.5 billion on Earth.

Another cause of concern are the resources that go into taking care of the animals. 

To create one pound of beef requires 1,800 gallons of water according to a 2015 report from Stanford University. 

Companies have looked to upend the traditional live stock industry by introducing a line of lab-grown products approximating naturally originated meat. File photo

As a result, other companies -- one's that aren't focused on integrating insects -- have begun to develop less environmentally detrimental alternatives to the meat humans know and love. 

Among them are companies like Impossible and Just which are developing 'meat' grown in petri dishes using cultured cells. 

With millions of dollars in investment, lab-grown products that mimic mimic the real thing could be on shelves as soon as 2021.

In the meantime, however, researchers like Dr. Hoffman say that humans already have a completely viable alternative to animal-borne protein right in front of their eyes -- or in this case, buzzing around their kitchens.

'It's all pretty logical if you think about it,  he said in a statement. 


'Test tube meat' is a term used to describe meat products grown in a laboratory

'Test tube meat' is a term used to describe meat products grown in a laboratory.

They are made by harvesting stem cells from the muscle tissue of living livestock.

The cells, which have the ability to regenerate, are then cultured in a nutrient soup of sugars and minerals.

These cells are then left to develop inside bioreactor tanks into skeletal muscle that can be harvested in just a few weeks.

Lab-grown beef was first created by Dutch scientists in 2013. A test tube hamburger was served at a restaurant in London to two food critics.

In March 2017, San Francisco firm Memphis Meats successfully grew poultry meat from stem cells for the first time.

In March 2017, San Francisco firm Memphis Meats successfully grew poultry meat from stem cells for the first time. The company also makes lab-grown meatballs (pictured)