Monday, November 28, 2016

Could honey bee brood be the future of food?

Doesn't that look delicious?
With human population set to reach 9 billion by 2050, eating insects is gaining attention as a possible way to feed the world. A paper published in the Journal of Apicultural Research shows how honey bee brood -- the larvae and pupae of drones -- has great potential as a food source. Bee brood is already eaten as a delicacy in many countries, including Mexico, Thailand and Australia. It has a nutty flavor with a crunchy texture when eaten cooked or dried, and is a versatile ingredient used in soups and egg dishes. It also has high nutritional value, similar to beef in terms of protein quality and quantity. Beekeepers are accustomed to removing brood to manage Varroa mite, the most harmful parasite affecting honey bees worldwide. According to Professor Annette Bruun Jensen of the University of Copenhagen and her colleagues, this practice makes drone brood an abundant source of farmed insects with untapped potential for human consumption. Brood farming has a number of advantages, including the relatively little arable space and low financial investment required to set up hives. Research on honey bee biology and breeding also has a long history compared to other candidates for insect farming. But several challenges would need to be met for this method of farming to take off -- none more so than in the harvesting of brood, which is very fragile and thus difficult to remove intact from the hive...more

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