Martí-Franquès COFUND Fellowship Programme


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Engineering and Architecture

Supervisor name and surname:

Sílvia de Lamo Castellví

Supervisor email:

Supervisor short biography

PhD programme:

Nanoscience, Materials and Chemical Engineering

Title of the research project:

Rearing mealworms for human consumption using agricultural biowaste

Description of the research project:

Insects are very efficient to tranform a wide variety of organic matter into edible insect body mass and are also very nutritious with high content in proteins, fats and oils. Larval stages of holometanolous insects (those with larval, pupal and adult stages such as mealworms or flies) tend to be higher in fats and oils and lower in protein than their respective adult stages or compared with most hemimetabolos insects (such as crickets or grashoppers). There is an increasing Interest in using mealworms as human food. These worms are able to convert leftovers from the existing food and agriculture industry and microalgae that can not be digested by humans in a very efficient way. Therefore, mealworm farming is an alternative strategy for the production of fat and oil-rich food and feed with a low ecological footprint.
The objective of this thesis is to study the ability of mealworms to convert carob and almond biowaste and certain types of microalgae into insect edible weight. Moreover, the chemical composition of these worms will be studied and an extraction procedure by means of food-grade ionic liquids will be developed to effectively separate fats, oils and proteins. We have worked extensively on using carob and other biowaste to obtain food grade ingredients and also using ionic liquids to extract components from urban biowaste. This project will open new possibilities for the valorisation of food biowaste to obtain alternative sources of fats, oils and proteins for human consumption.

Gross anual salary:

26443.80 €


Full time

Working hours:

37.5 hours a week

Expected start date:

European union This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No. 713679