Three young scientists from the Luso-French College of Porto will represent Portugal in the European Science Competition with the ‘ENTOFARM.PT’, a project that uses domestic cricket as a “protein alternative” to meat consumption, the professor said today.
“Our goal was to create a protein alternative to meat consumption, and after several months of research, we found that in 100 grams of cricket, 70 grams is protein, which is considered a ‘protein bomb,'” said Rita Rocha, teacher responsible for the project.
When using the domestic crickets, the ‘ENTOFARM.PT’ project appears as a ‘safe alternative’ to the meat and represents ‘a much smaller ecological footprint’.
“We decided to embrace this species because of the nutritional qualities it has, taking into account that the cricket is distributed throughout almost the entire planet and that it is not an endangered species,” explained Rita Rocha.
After carrying out several tests in the laboratory at 500 crickets, the three young men of the Luso-French College, Mário Ribeiro, João Maria Leite and Catarina Brandão, managed to arrive at a zero-mortality compromise solution, thus guaranteeing two thousand individuals per Cashier”.
“Initially we bought 500 crickets, which were subjected to several laboratory tests. Once all the analysis parameters were verified, we were able to obtain, in a box at the end of an entire life cycle [eight weeks], about two thousand individuals for sale”, he stressed. teacher.
According to Rita Rocha, since it would be “difficult for a westerner to eat a cricket,” the team of young scientists chose to turn the animal into flour, which could “be introduced as a supplement in other foods.”
The ENTOFARM.PT project team is now in “negotiations with companies” for the use of this supplement in aquaculture as an alternative to fish feed, however, the teacher stresses that “the next challenge is to remove the fat content” crickets.
The three Portuguese youths will represent Portugal at the 30th European Science Contest for Young Scientists, which will take place from 14 to 19 September in Dublin, Ireland.
Promoted by the European Commission, the competition, which involves the areas of Biology, Environmental Sciences, Medical Sciences, Social Sciences, Economics, Engineering, Computer Science and Physics, has about 100 projects from 40 countries.
To represent the country will be even more two teams of Portuguese youth who also stood out in the 12th National Science Show held in June and promoted by the Youth Foundation.