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Aims: The present study was aimed at evaluating the physicochemical and functional properties of flours and oil from the Shea Caterpillar Cirina butyrospermi Vuillet, one of the most widely eaten insects in the Northern Côte d’Ivoire as alternative protein source.
Methodology: Fresh C. butyrospermi larvae were collected from Vitellaria paradoxa trees in the different regions producing shearbutter in northern Côte d’Ivoire. The larvae were oven dried and ground to obtain crude flour. Flours and Oil extracted from this insect was analysed for physicochemical properties and fatty acid constituents using standard methods.
Results: The chemical composition revealed that it contains crude protein about 60.09%, crude fat 22.23%, ash 3.71% and total carbohydrate 6.69%. These results suggest that C. butyrospermi larvae can be used in human diet to prevent undernourishment due to protein. Albumin and glutelin constitute the main part of protein fractions. The defatted flour showed good functional properties such as water and oil absorption capacity (77.96 and 150.00% respectively), dispersibility (70.90%), wettability (5 min) and foam stability (50.05%). As regards oil, it exhibited good physicochemical properties as saponification and stability. Fatty acids profile reveals that the unsaturated fatty acids accounted for 49.33% of the total fatty acids, whereas the saturated fatty acids constituted 49.83% of the fatty acids.
Conclusion: C. butyrospermi larvae could be considered as valuable source of protein and oil accounting for more than 80% of nutrients. Its flour exhibits some good functional properties making it suitable for many food product formulations. Compared with oils which have been reported of high quality, C. butyrospermi oil has potentials that could be exploited for nutritional and pharmaceutical purposes.
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