Could eating insects solve world food shortage?

Could eating insects solve world food shortage?
Credit: Insects au Gratin. Illustration: Penelope Kupfer- Steak Studio. Edible Exhibition, Science Gallery, Dublin

Creating tasty food items from ground-up insects could be a solution to global food shortages, according to Insects Au Gratin, an exhibition featuring 3D food printing technology.

3D printing expert from UWE Bristol's Centre for Fine Print Research Dr. Peter Walters is part of the team who worked on the idea, which is on show at the Science Gallery, Dublin, until April 6. The creative team behind Insects Au Gratin was led by designer Susana Soares and included food bioscientist Dr. Kenneth Spears from London South Bank University, Pestival and Penelope Kupfer of Steak Studio.

Insects au Gratin reveals insects as a valuable source of protein and looks at new ways they could be consumed by humans. It is part of the Science Gallery's Edible exhibition which focuses on the future of food.

Peter's recent research into edible 3D printing led him to be invited to contribute to the project. Using a modified , prototype foodstuffs were fabricated from flour made from dried insects combined with soft cheese.

Peter said "I had recently been working on a research project into edible 3D printing with colleagues Deborah Southerland and David Huson here at the Centre for Fine Print Research. We had already some success fabricating various from icing sugar, chocolate fudge, mashed potato and soft cheese, and we gave a demonstration of this work at the in London last year. We were absolutely delighted when Susana Soares got in touch and asked us to be part of the Au Gratin team. We plan to continue working on the project with Susana and colleagues after the Dublin Exhibition has finished and hope to work together to refine the insect flour material and the 3D ."

3D printing is currently a hot topic in a whole host of disciplines from medicine and engineering to art and design. The UWE Centre for Fine Print Research is at the forefront of the field with its ground breaking research in ceramic 3D printing which was recently presented at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.

With future predictions of a 3D printer in every home, edible 3D printing presents the possibility of personalized edible items which can be tailored to suit individual tastes and dietary requirements.

The exhibition is supported by the Wellcome Trust.

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Mar 01, 2012
Yes, we must consume every edible thing on this planet sooner or later to support the population growth. Growth is god. We must grow everything to feed our capitalistic fires. You can't grow the economy without more people, more people need more food, more food for more people means less of EVERYTHING else for EVERYONE.

There is a simple principle of nature that we ignore, the invisible elephant in the room, NOTHING CAN GROW FOREVER, NOTHING.

Mar 01, 2012
There isn't a world food shortage-- there's a problem with how we manage (or mismanage) the supply in such an inefficient manner.

Mar 03, 2012
3-D printing sounds a little contrived. I'll try to keep an open mind though.
I could likely print a "chocolate" bar from some insect mash, but I'll probably be disappointed when I take that first bite.
My other thought is: the areas of the world where insects as a food source would be most beneficial are probably areas that have the least access to technology like 3-D printers.

Mar 03, 2012
If we were living in a simulation and I could spent my "research points" how I wanted to in this society I'd put them ALL...and I do mean ALL of them into nanotechnology.

Mature Nanotech will solve poverty, all environmental problems, food shortages, energy problems, and a significant number of political problems virtually overnight.

Someday almost all people will be eating manufactured food that tastes better, is better for you, and they'll look back at us an consider us savages for eating meat we killed or food we grew out of the ground...I'd bet a billion on it if I had it.

Mar 03, 2012
Free market capitalism can, just as it did in the USA.

Mar 03, 2012
alfie null, I think your'e right on target with your comments.

If a person is hungry enough to eat a bug, how could he possibly have the means to own a 3d printer. Bug flour is inane imho.

I have thought of making a cnc device for cake or cupcake decoration. I could make it with a loan from the government and give them out free to the masses in a glorious burst of socialist glory. Long live socialism.

Funny, I don't feel destroyed.

Mar 03, 2012
What's next? Soylent Green?

Can't we just try to figure out how to articficially manufacture the protein instead of farming insects?

Mar 03, 2012
Implementation of cold fusion would stop the demand for biofuels, so we will get a lotta of cheap food suddenly. There's no need to eat some poor bugs and ants... http://www.greend...ethanol/

Mar 03, 2012
Free market capitalism can, just as it did in the USA.
You mean "Free of responsibility capitalism."

Mar 03, 2012
"Open markets will stimulate continued investment, innovation and new developments from public research institutions, private companies and novel public/private partnerships.

We already can see the ongoing value of these investments simply by acknowledging the double-digit productivity gains made in corn and soybeans in much of the developed world. In the U.S., corn productivity has grown more than 40% and soybeans by nearly 30% from 1987 to 2007,"
"Likewise, the civilization that our children, grandchildren and future generations come to know will not evolve without accelerating the pace of investment and innovation in agriculture production.

Mr. Borlaug, a professor at Texas A&M University, won the 1970 Nobel Peace Prize for his contributions to the world food supply. "
Investment and innovation seldom describes socialism.

Mar 03, 2012

"The Moon is a Harsh Mistress": wheat framing on the moon.

Mar 04, 2012

"The Moon is a Harsh Mistress": wheat framing on the moon.

Thats all nice and well, but we are running out of fresh water.

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