Growth performance and chemical composition of larvae of Tenebrio molitor L. (Col.: Tenebrionidae)
Abstract: Mealworm (Tenebrio molitor L.) is a stored product pest of which larvae are used as food for birds and reptiles pets as well could be used for the production of fodder for livestock. The aim of this study was to investigate the growth of larvae and their chemical composition after feeding on a mixture of bran and potato tubers. Larvae were obtained from a rearing carried on at constant conditions (25 °C, 65% R. H. and 16 h L/8 h D photoperiod). In these conditions, the mealworm larvae increased their weight 36 times during a 30-days period. Larvae contained 63.7% of water, high levels of total protein at 11.2%, and 14.5% of total fat. Oleic acid (C18:1), palmitic acid (C16:0) and linoleic acid (C18:2) were the predominant fatty acids compromising almost 90% of total lipid content. Larvae of mealworm had a fast growth rate and are good source of protein and mono and poly unsaturated fatty acids.