Maggot sausages. Source: University of QueenslandMaggot sausages. Source: University of QueenslandIn a bid to introduce sustainable protein into the average diet, scientists have developed specialty ice cream, sausage and chicken dishes with a special ingredient: bugs.

Scientists from the University of Queensland in Australia believe that incorporating insects into pre-prepared dishes might dispel the initial resistance consumers have to ingesting protein-rich insects in lieu of meat such as beef, which is environmentally taxing to produce. It takes approximately 1,800 gallons of water to make just 1 lb of beef.

As such, the scientists have been creating dishes including insect ice cream, black soldier fly chicken and maggot sausage, all to promote environmentally friendly protein substitutes. Alternative food sources could solve anticipated food shortages due to overpopulation and over-farming.

Dr. Louwrens Hoffman of the University of Queensland believes that insects need to be incorporated as ingredients into existing products. Such dishes, according to similar studies, will have greater success among those in western cultures if the insects are already processed and disguised.

"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," said Hoffman. "Would you eat a commercial sausage made from maggots? What about other insect larvae and even whole insects like locusts?"

Similarly, Hoffman's Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation research is also investigating the use of maggots as a protein source for the production of chickens. Researchers determined that broiler chickens with a diet that includes 15% insect larvae did not experience any negative effect on the chickens’ nutrients, production performance, breast meat aroma, tenderness, juiciness or long-chain fatty acid composition.

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