Meat Emulsion Products May Benefit From Cricket Flour

Cricket Flour Meat Emulsion

Researchers at Purdue Univ. and Texas A&M have discovered that cricket flour may offer an effective nonmeat functional ingredient to manufacture emulsified meat products, according to a study published in the Journal of Food Science. While many cultures in Africa, Asia, and Latin America regularly consume edible insects, eating whole insects is unfamiliar and objectionable to most people in Western countries. Incorporating insect-based ingredients into conventional food products may help to encourage acceptance of insects as food.

The objective of the study was to determine the effect of house cricket (Acheta domesticus) flour addition on physicochemical and textural properties of meat emulsion under various formulations. The researchers investigated the functional properties of house cricket flour at different sodium chloride (NaCl) concentrations and the replacement effect of lean meat and/or fat portion with house cricket flour on chemical composition and technological properties of the meat emulsion.

A control meat emulsion was formulated with 60% lean pork, 20% back fat, and 20% ice. Based on total weight of the main ingredients, six treatment emulsions were prepared with replacement of lean pork and/or back fat portions with house cricket flour at 2 different levels: 5% replacement level (replacing either 5% lean meat, 5% fat, or 2.5% lean meat + 2.5% fat) and 10% replacement level (replacing either 10% lean meat, 10% fat, or 5% lean meat + 5% fat). All meat emulsions were individually formulated with the 2.0% NaCl, 0.3% sodium tri-polyphosphate, 120 ppm sodium nitrite, and 500 ppm L-ascorbic acid in a bowl cutter.

Analysis indicated that protein solubility of house cricket flour is affected by NaCl concentration, but this had little impact on water absorption capacity, emulsifying capacity, and gel formation ability of house cricket flour. When house cricket flour was substituted for 10% lean meat/fat portion in meat emulsion, protein and some micronutrients (i.e., phosphorus, potassium, and magnesium) were fortified without negative impacts on cooking yield and textural properties. The study suggests that house cricket flour could be used as an effective nonmeat ingredient in emulsified meat products by replacement of lean meat/fat portion within a 10% level. The researchers recommend further research on the sensory attributes and microbial stability of cricket flour in emulsified meat products.  

Read the article here.

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