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Centrifugal fractionation of mealworm larvae (Tenebrio molitor, L.) for protein recovery and concentration

Purschke, Benedict, Mendez Sanchez, Yhosemar Daniela, Jäger, Henry
Lebensmittel-Wissenschaft + [i.e. und] Technologie 2018 v.89 pp. 224-228
Tenebrio molitor, centrifugation, databases, developed countries, edible insects, feed formulation, fractionation, industrial applications, larvae, pH, protein content, proteins, screening, solubilization
The utilization of edible insect protein as a novel source and potential substitute for conventional proteins used in food/feed formulations has recently drawn attention in industrial countries. The development of efficient processes for the recovery of insect protein is of crucial importance and will help to gain industrial applicability. However, systematic studies about important unit operations of insect protein recovery procedures are scarce. The present study evaluates a centrifugal fractionation concept by investigating the impact of solubilization pH (7.0–10.5), centrifugation speed/force (4000-8850 min−1; 1860–9170 g) and centrifugation time (10–30 min) on the protein recovery of mealworm larvae (Tenebrio molitor L.). Therefore, a 23 full factorial screening design was applied. The statistical evaluation identified the centrifugation force and solubilization pH as key parameters determining the protein content and recovery in the supernatant fraction. Within the experimental campaign, protein content was enhanced from initially 39 g/100 g dry base (db) in the larvae to 56–65 g/100 g db in the extracts while the recovery ranged from 31 to 58%. The results of this study elucidated the main factors determining the efficiency of the centrifugal separation step for mealworm protein concentration and recovery and provide a database for the design of industrial separation processes.