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Eating adults?

Has anyone attempted to cook with mealworm beetles? What about grinding into a flour?


  • Hi MeghanCurry,

    Mealworm beetles nutritional composition are different than at earlier stage. Soluble protein % goes down a bit & non-soluble protein % increases; carbohydrate % is less & "fat" % is almost the same. Source is Table VIII in "On the Chemical Changes Associated with Metamorphosis in a Beetle (Tenebrio molitor L.)"; free full text = (1934) "

    The back of the mealworm bettle also has changed it's predominant amino acid to the a-polar aminos. Glycine is the main amino of bettles & it makes up 35% of gellatin. Diluted "jello" is given to babies for calming their stomach.

    Glycine acts to inhibit neuro-transmission so it is considered soothing for sleeping. Clinical uses include small doses to facilitate stroke recovery. Some indications point to it's usefullness as an anti-spasmodic in syndromes of conditions as diverse as multiple sclerosis, epilepsy & colitis/celiac.

    In metabolic processes glycine is modulatory to calcium ion flux & as a result has the potential to be influential in many downstream signal cascades. There is an effect on immunological responses involving cyto-kines & also on conserving the intergrity of our cellular ATP energy producers called the mitochondria. Some claim glycine can help to lower blood sugar in diabetics by acting to support insulin action; another effect is reputed to be lowering blood tri- glycer-ides.

    If consider using mealworm bettles maybe try the phase when they are still brown colored. The brown comes from an enzyme that forms quinones & when that enzyme stops being produced another already existing enzyme becomes dominant. The 2nd enzyme is what cross-links the proteins & causes it to get harder/darker.

    A compound identified in the top (dorasal) abdomen of the adult is 3,4-di-hydroxy-phenyl-acetic acid. Above details taken from (1975) "Cuticular sclerotization in the beetles Pachynoda epphipiata and Tenebrio molitor"; link =

    3,4-di-hydroxy-phenyl-acetic acid (called DOPAC for short) is an interesting compound in it's own right. Many have heard how dopamine ("DOPA") in the brain being degraded by the enzyme MAO (mono-amine-oxidase) exasperates Parkinson's syndrome; well MAO also degrades DOPAC. When testing for agents that inhibit MAO (a goal in Parkinson's) then both DOPA & DOPAC are usually monitored (goal is to get the latter 2 not to go down).

    Alcohol will raise DOPAC , as well as DOPA in the brain structure named hypo-thalamus (DOPA also elevates in the mid-brain, while DOPAC doesn't act there). Imagine the sales potential for "Meghan's Mellow Meal Mix" promoted by slogans like: "Have you had your T. molitor today" & "Beetles beat it"

  • Thanks for the great info as usual gringojay. Mellow mealies sound way better than scorpion smoking or live harvester ant eating! Meallies ... the new Molly ... I can see it now! Ha!

    Doing a quick search for 3,4-dihydroxyphenylacetic acid, what I saw made it sound like this metabolite degrades into something that would negatively affect dopamine pathways or is this only under particular circumstances? If the compound is cuticular, could Ione just rinse adults in some sort of solvent? Im mostly curious, and not terribly serious.

  • Hi MeghanCurry, - a bit more on 3,4-di-hydroxy-phenyl-acetic acid a form of phenol. Many people might know about plant flavenoids given the popular marketing of bio-flavenoids for "health", well plants synthesize phenols from their flavenoids.

    The following study tried to simulate (Quote:) "... microbiotic environment of ... fermentation processes in the colon ... (&) 3,4-dihydroxyphenylacetic acid ... (is) one of the phenolic acid fermentation products." The authors go on to say that this compound (which they abreviate as "3,4HDPAA" is of pharmacological interest because of it's unique inhibition (ie: stymies) of both specific prostate & colon cancer cell lines.

    My extrapolation of the research is, that: when one hears dietary flavenoid(s) are protective against things like colon cancer it is that "3,4HDPAA" compound being made by our symbiotic gut bacteria from ingested flavenoid(s) which is the active player. For the study's design see (2006) "Of the Major Phenolic Acids Formed during Human Microbial Fermentation of Tea, Citrus, and Soy Flavonoid Supplements, Only 3,4-Dihydroxyphenylacetic Acid Has Antiproliferative Activity"; free full text =

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