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ICIPE researchers discover new species of edible cricket in Kenya

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Researchers have discovered a new species of crickets in Kenya which they say is edible.

International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (Icipe) on Wednesday said the cricket can be easily produced in mass for human consumption.

The experts also said it can be used as an alternative protein ingredient in animal feeds.

The species, which was collected and reared for experimental purposes at the centre’s campus, has been named Scapsipedus icipe.

Tanga Mbi, who found the insect as part of his post-doctoral research, said the cricket is commonly found around buildings and fields and is characterised by a distinctive yellow band between the eyes.

“This knowledge is important as it will enable the development of proper, more effective rearing techniques, and ultimately the effective incorporation of the species as a component in food and feed,” Mbi said.

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Nanna Roos, Associate Professor in the Department of Nutrition, said the research on the potential of farming of edible insects as an important contribution to nutritious food has been on for the past four years. 

“The discovery of Scapsipedus icipe is exciting and important, not just because it is a new species to Science, but because the species already has demonstrated great potential large-scale farming,” Roos said.

Experts pushing for insects as an alternative food are faced with challenges of ‘Yuck factor’, a situation that has seen many keep off the edibles. 

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