Nutritive Food Value and Clientele Preference of Termites (Isoptera: Termitidea: Pseudocanthotermes Grandiceps) in Western Kenya: Comparison with Conventional Red and White MeatJournal: International Journal of Science and Research (IJSR) (Vol.9, No. 8)
Publication Date: 2020-08-05
Authors : Robert W Nyukuri;
Page : 905-913
Keywords : Food; Red Meat; White Meat; Termite;
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 overreliance 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: (i) to determine the food value of the white ants in Western Kenya and (ii) to determine effects of preservation methods on the proximate composition of the white ants and (iii) to establish the consumer preferences for the white ants in various urban centers of 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, ash, crude fiber and nitrogen free extracts (NFE). Essential Amino Acid (EAA) profiles were evaluated to determine protein composition. The consumer preference and seasonal fluctuation was done through personal administered questionnaires that sought direct information on the issues of consuming white ants. Food value of the different species was analyzed by Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) while consumer preferences and effect of preservation methods on the proximate composition was analyzed by frequency distribution and cross-tabulations and hypothesis tested using chi-square. In all the analysis either a version of GenStat 4.0 S. E or SPSS 17.0 was used as appropriate. Results indicated that white ants have low levels of starch, 54 % crude protein, 9.0 % moisture, 10.8 % ash, 9.5 % crude fibre, which renders it a perfect substitute for beef and 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. Under traditional and modern preservation methods, only sun drying resulted to loss of some nutrients, smoking only changed the texture while salting and freezing changed the moisture content and tastes. Frying and roasting improved the consumer appeal. Finally, many people had believed that white ants are additional food ingredients but should be considered an alternative food source to beef or fish. 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.
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