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As we commemorate Earth Day on April 22nd, we look ahead to an investable future which envisions a path of sustainability, progress and new environmental movements to combat the ramifications of unsustainable practices which have come with the modern world.

For those pushing forward in creating new pathways of revolutionary practices and research, HOP interviewed three inspirational students, each of whom are conducting their own studies in the world of edible insects, sustainability and dietary health.

HOP spoke with Thomas Baker, a masters student at Surrey University exploring the effects of cricket protein on muscle hypertrophy whilst also using cricket protein to determine muscle regeneration during strength training.

With Thomas's research underway, his main focus is to understand the impact of cricket protein within sports and exercise in order to see how it affects blood glucose and muscle hypertrophy. Thomas explained that “it’s important to take as much valuable research as we can and apply it to the wider community for example how do we combat muscle atrophy within the elderly population?….the current research leads us to this possibility in crickets, however obviously it is as yet an unproven link that crickets stimulate muscle protein synthesis, but this is an area we wish to explore by looking at the absorption profile of the amino acids and possibly (ethics dependant) some markers of muscle protein synthesis

In order to harness further information on crickets, Thomas has been using HOP cricket powder as a protein substitute within his research along with testing the powder in his day- to-day cooking.

In one recipe, the creation of muffins was on the menu to which Thomas told HOP

I made the base using a mixture of eggs, butter, sugar, flour and cricket flour which was then paired with nutmeg, dark chocolate, carrot and walnut….in another recipe I made three different flavours with one being just cricket with no added extras, it was found to be very palatable….seeing as it is replacing the gluten network it will be great in biscuits similar to shortbreads and cupcakes and it will work great in gluten free bread or soda bread.

As ideas on recipes grow, so too does the health benefits primarily due to the fact that

With edible insects being tried and tested, Loredana Herciu, a final year food science bachelor's student from Glasgow Caledonian University, spoke with HOP to share her edible insect recipes which included cricket pumpkin risotto, cricket quiche, and cricket brownies with chopped walnuts.

Along with creating new recipes, Loredana is currently completing a bachelor's degree in investigating heavy metals and shellfish allergens of cross reactivity in edible insects such as crickets, grasshoppers, and mealworms in order to create vital information for those wanting to consume edible insects in the future.

As research delves deeper into the world of edible insects and sustainability, many researchers are paving the way for sustainable food production and food management.

HOP spoke with Miranda Burke, a PHD student at Lancaster University currently working on a research paper examining how we can reduce food waste in the supply chain from farm to fork.

Miranda told HOP, “with every action there is a reaction as everything is interlinked…within the food production area you can have a loss of biodiversity, land loss, land fragmentation along with air, soil and water pollution which can comes from pesticide….Inevitably we are going to have to move on past relying on the meat industry as we do and changing our attitude towards edible insects….at this moment in time, attitude change is hindered and prevented by means such as living costs and personal limitations, yet those means can be changed with a huge group effort

With continued endeavours from companies such as Woven and the crucial research of students from around the UK and the world, the edible insect market is broadening its horizons one insect at a time.

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