Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design


Animal and Nutritional Sciences

Committee Chair

Jacek Jaczynski

Committee Member

Kristen Matak

Committee Member

Yong-Lak Park


Cricket (Acheta domesticus), silkworm pupae (Bombyx mori), and locust (Locusta migratoria) dry flours were obtained to examine the biochemical properties and composition of the flours. This study aimed to characterize the protein and lipid components of three insect species utilizing proximate composition analyses, amino acid composition analysis, protein solubility, SDS-PAGE, fatty acid composition analysis, and thin layer chromatography to determine lipid classes, and lipid extraction efficiency. Kjeldahl determined the cricket, locust, and silkworm flours contained 72.0%, 53.1%, and 71.2% protein, respectively. All proximate composition analyses were significantly (p<0.05) different between species. Amino acid composition analysis revealed that the flours contained 3.6-3.9% and 0.90-1.5% of lysine and methionine, respectively. Many countries have cereal grains and legumes as a staple in their diet that contain these limiting amino acids. Essential amino acids were 22% of total amino acids. Protein solubility revealed that the three species studied were most soluble in alkaline environments with highest protein solubility occurring at pH 13 at 66% solubility in silkworm. Lowest solubility occurred in more acidic conditions between pH 4-5. SDS-PAGE revealed five major protein fractions with estimated molecular weights of 27 (cuticle proteins), 41 (arginine kinase), which has been identified as an allergen in shrimp, 42 (actin), 71 (hemocyanin), and 220 myosin) kDa. Soxhlet extraction determined cricket, silkworm, and locust flours contained 15.4%, 33.3%, and 11.4% lipid, respectively. The only omega-3 fatty acid found in the flours was α-linolenic acid. Silkworm flour contained the most α-linolenic acid at 33.3% of total fatty acids, followed by locust (13.7%), and cricket (0.6%). TLC resolved lipids for typical lipid classes. The four major lipid classes noted were triacylglycerol, free fatty acid, cholesterol, and phospholipid. Lipid extraction efficiency found that the organic solvents chloroform and methanol had the highest lipid extraction yield in both cricket (69.3%) and locust (93.0%). Methyl-tertiary-butyl ether (MTBE) extracted lipids most efficiently in the silkworm. Proteins and lipids found in insects need to be isolated to further or commercial use.