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Abstract, EAJ, 2014

The palm beetles, Oryctes rhinoceros L are pests of palm trees in the tropics and are also very important as edible insects. This study was conducted to investigate the nutrient composition, mineral salt contents, functional properties and anti-nutrient factors of the developmental stages (i.e. larvae, pupae and adults) of Oryctes rhinoceros beetles. The samples were oven-dried and blended into fine particles before being used for nutrient composition analyses using standard procedures. Analysis of mineral salts, functional composition and phytochemical (anti-nutrient) composition were also carried out, using standard procedures. The results obtained showed that protein content was highest in the adult (74.18±0.15%) while larva and pupa had 70.76±0.12% and 65.34±0.11% respectively.  The ash content of the larva was the highest with a value of 8.29±0.01% while the pupa and the adult had 3.17±0.01% and 5.29±0.01% respectively. The pupa was highest in fat content (20.21±0.03%) while the larva had 7.47±0.01% and the adult had 9.55±0.01%.  The moisture contents of the larva, pupa and adult are 1.04±0.02%, 4.76±0.02% and 4.53±0.03% respectively. The larva stage had the highest soluble proteins while the lowest protein solubility was observed in the pupa stage. In the larva stage, the highest protein solubility occurred in acidic medium while in the pupa and adult, it occurred in basic and neutral media respectively. Phosphorus was consistently highest in all the developmental stages. While Cu was not detected in any of the developmental stages, Magnesium was the highest minerals in the beetle with the values of 71.54±0.20mg/100g, 56.55±0.13mg/100g and 58.73±0.11mg/100g in the larva, pupa and adults respectively. Other mineral salts that were detected include Na, K, Ca, Fe, Zn, Mn and Cr. All the developmental stages of O. rhinoceros have good functional properties and thus can be used in baking industries. They all have high water absorption capacity, oil absorption capacity, foaming capacity, emulsion capacity and good least gelation concentrations. The anti-nutrient values of all the developmental stages are of negligible quantity that will pose no threat to life since the values fall within the tolerance values. Oryctes rhinoceros is a good source of nutrients and minerals which can be put to better use to accelerate the proper growth and development of man and livestock.