University of Oulu

Ghosh, S.; Sohn, H.-Y.; Pyo, S.-J.; Jensen, A.B.; Meyer-Rochow, V.B.; Jung, C. Nutritional Composition of Apis mellifera Drones from Korea and Denmark as a Potential Sustainable Alternative Food Source: Comparison Between Developmental Stages. Foods 2020, 9, 389.

Nutritional composition of Apis mellifera drones from Korea and Denmark as a potential sustainable alternative food source : comparison between developmental stages

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Author: Ghosh, Sampat1; Sohn, Ho-Yong2; Pyo, Su-Jin2;
Organizations: 1Agricultural Science and Technology Research Institute, Andong National University, Andong 36729, Korea
2Department of Food and Nutrition, Andong National University, Andong 36729, Korea
3Department of Plant and Environmental Science, University of Copenhagen, 1871 Frederiksberg, Denmark
4Department of Genetics and Ecology, Oulu University, SF-90140 Oulu, Finland
5Department of Plant Medicals, Andong National University, Andong 36729, Korea
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.8 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute, 2020
Publish Date: 2020-07-07


We compared nutrient compositions of honey bee (Apis mellifera) drones of different developmental stages from two different populations—the Italian honey bee reared in Korea and Buckfast bees from Denmark. Analyses included amino acid, fatty acid, and mineral content as well as evaluations of antioxidant properties and haemolysis activities. The compositions of total amino acids, and thus protein content of the insects, increased with development. A similar trend was observed for minerals presumably due to the consumption of food in the adult stage. In contrast, total fatty acid amounts decreased with development. Altogether, seventeen amino acids, including all the essential ones, except tryptophan, were determined. Saturated fatty acids dominated over monounsaturated fatty acids in the pupae, but the reverse held true for the adults. Drones were found to be rich in minerals and the particularly high iron as well as K/Na ratio was indicative of the nutritional value of these insects. Among the three developmental stages, adult Buckfast drones exhibited the highest antioxidant activity. Bearing in mind the overall high nutritional value, i.e., high amino acids, minerals and less fatty acids, late pupae and adult drones can be useful for human consumption while the larvae or early pupal stage can be recommended as feed. However, owing to their relatively high haemolysis activity, we advocate processing prior to the consumption of these insects.

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Series: Foods
ISSN: 2304-8158
ISSN-E: 2304-8158
ISSN-L: 2304-8158
Volume: 9
Issue: 4
Article number: 389
DOI: 10.3390/foods9040389
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 1181 Ecology, evolutionary biology
Funding: This work was funded by the Ministry of Education (NRF-2018R1A6A1A03024862).
Copyright information: © 2020 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (