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Graduation: Faculties of Business and Management Sciences Official start: December 10 @ 9:00 am. Duration: 2h 30m

Monday, 28 October 2019

Insects are rich in proteins and lipids

HIGH POTENTIAL: Department of Food Science and Technology Lecturer, Vusi Mshayisa and Chemistry Masters student, Bongisiwe Zozo, have made great progress towards synthesising conjugated or grafted novel proteins, using black soldier fly protein. HIGH POTENTIAL: Department of Food Science and Technology Lecturer, Vusi Mshayisa and Chemistry Masters student, Bongisiwe Zozo, have made great progress towards synthesising conjugated or grafted novel proteins, using black soldier fly protein.

A beaming smile glows and shines with true joy, on Chemistry Masters’ student, Bongisiwe Zozo, after producing the best poster at The First African Conference on Edible Insects held in Harare, Zimbabwe, recently.

Agrifood Technology Station (ATS) Manager, Larry Dolley, said the formal concept of insects for human consumption was first brought to the ATS by producers of black soldier fly (BSF) larvae for animal consumption. “This morphed into an approach from a start-up, now registered as Gourmet Grubb, to assist with their own process of producing insect-based ice cream using the larvae,” Dolley said.

Having identified insects as a potential sustainable food source, the management of the ATS and Department of Food Science & Technology (DFST) embraced this as a key strategic research area since it falls under the World Health Organisation Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), in particular SDG 2 which talks about ending hunger. Bongisiwe and DFST lecturer, Vusi Mshayisa, are two of the first post-graduate students performing research in this vital area.

Bongisiwe’s poster was titled: “Nutritional and structural characterisation of black soldier fly larvae before and after freeze drying”. The thrilled ATS intern said: “It was a great honour for me to receive the award… I was truly honoured at the recognition given by the adjudication committee”.

She added that this required a good deal of effort. However, she had her supervisors, Prof Merrill Wicht (Chemistry), and DFST lecturer, Prof Jessy Van Wyk, who provided unconditional support. Her colleagues presented other work currently being undertaken on this subject, Mshayisa and Vuyisani Bistoli. The oral paper presented by the former received a standing ovation.

Mshayisa said: “This was an ideal platform to present the work being done at CPUT since it was an international forum consisting of experts in the food and feed industry.” He added that insects were more efficient in terms of feed conversion and greenhouse gas emissions, compared to most domestically bred animal species. Go to this blog for more information.

Written by Aphiwe Boyce