Mejora de la producción de proteínas de insectos con ultrasonidos

Insects are a sustainable, easy-to-grow source for high-quality nutritional proteins and lipids. In order to separate proteins and lipids from the insects, ultrasonic extraction is used as highly efficient and reliable technology. Ultrasonication has been proven for high extraction rates, high protein and lipid yields, and rapid processing of prime quality insect ingredients.

Ultrasonic Extraction of Insect Proteins

Mealsworms are used as source to produce proteins and lipids for human and animal nutrition. ULtrasonic extraction is used to release and separate lipid and proteins from insects.Insects such as crickets, worms, flies and larvae are rich in proteins. In order to fulfil the growing demand for high-quality proteins, insects have got valued as a healthy, sustainable, and environmental-friendly protein source, which is used for human food, pet food and livestock feed. Insects are ectothermic (which means they are cold-blooded and do not waste energy to produce heat to increase their body temperature), they do not require a lot of space, and they can be fed using waste as growth substrate. This makes insect proteins and lipids a promising food source, which can help to fill the “protein gap”, which has to be overcome to feed a rising world population and its demand for high-quality nutrients, especially protein.
Insect Growing: Insects are bred on insect farms, where they are grown in containers or reactors. With the advantage of being fast growing organisms, they require relatively low care, can be fed with organic waste, and are quickly cultivated to harvest size or ripeness. Especially fly larvae, mealworms and crickets are easy to breed. Regarding efficiency, the larvae of the black soldier fly is recognized for its excellent transformation of organic waste into high-quality protein. this is why the black soldier fly is also known as “queen of waste transformation” under insect farmers.
The Processing Steps of Insect Meal: When the insects have reached their targeted size or stadium, they are harvested. This means they are ready to be processed into food ingredients. Before processing, the insects are washed in water, sieved and stored alive at 4℃ for about one day without any feed.
Afterwards, the insects are cooked, and then dried by very hot air or by heating them in a container. Heat treatment also required to kill bacteria. Finally, the insects are milled into a dry insect meal (also known as insect flour). The insect meal can be used as a food ingredient or additive for animal feed. But in order to refine and upgrade the insect meal, the most valuable ingredients, i.e. proteins and lipids, are extracted. Especially pure insect protein is valued as highly nutritional ingredient, which is used in protein bars, protein powders and as additive into many food products such as baked goods, chips, crackers etc.
Ultrasonic Extraction of Insect Proteins:
Ultrasonic extraction is used to produce protein powders, hydrolysates, and protein isolates from many insect forms, including flies, worms, bugs, crickets, and larvae. By extracting high-quality proteins from insect meal, ultrasonication produces functional food ingredients with superior nutritional profile.

Advantages of Ultrasonic Protein Extraction from Insects

Ultrasonication is widely applied to extract and treat proteins from various sources such as botanicals (e.g., from soy, rice, rapeseed, sunflower, pumpkin seeds etc.), dairy (e.g., whey protein concentrate (WPC), whey protein, milk protein retentates, calcium caseinate), algae (e.g., seaweed), seafood (e.g., fish by-products and seafood waste), and insects (e.g. worms, larvae, flies, maggots, beetles, crickets, cockroaches etc.).
As a highly efficient, and green extraction technology, ultrasonic extraction of insect protein has been found its place in the production of insect protein powders, hydrolysates and isolates. Due to high process reliability, repeatability and linear up-scaling, ultrasonication is used to extract protein from insects, to modify protein structures and to improve physicochemical properties of protein.
For instance, Mintha et al. (2020) applied ultrasonic extraction to black soldier fly larvae (H. illucens). They report that sonication improved protein structure, altered protein functionality, and as thereby beneficial for the production of H. illucens protein / hydrolysates. Especially, zeta potential, dispersibility, and thiol values were increased by ultrasonication. Furthermore, turbidity and particle size of protein decreased after sonication. Ultrasonication significantly increased lightness (L*) of protein isolates by x ¯ 7.46% compared to the non-sonicated control.

Procesador ultrasónico UIP2000hdT (2 kW) con reactor discontinuo agitado

extractor ultrasónico UIP2000hdT (2kW) with batch reactor

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El UIP4000hdT es un potente extractor ultrasónico en línea de 4000 vatios.

UIP4000hdT, a 4000watts powerful industrial high-shear mixer for inline extraction of proteins from plants, insects and seafood.

High-Performance Ultrasonicators for Insect Protein Processing

Ultrasonic extraction and homogenisation is a reliable processing technology, which facilitates and accelerates the production of high-quality insect proteins. Hielscher Ultrasonics portfolio covers the full range from compact lab ultrasonicators to industrial extraction systems. Thereby, we at Hielscher can offer you the most suitable ultrasonicator for your envisaged process capacity. Our long-time experienced staff will assist you from feasibility tests and process optimisation to the installation of your ultrasonic system on final production level.
The small foot-print of our ultrasonic extractors as well as their versatility in installation options make them fit even into small-space insect protein processing facilities. Ultrasonic processors are installed worldwide in food and nutritional supplement production facilities as well as for the production of pet and livestock feed. Furthermore, ultrasonic high shear mixers are ideal to formulate insect proteins into human food products as well as into pet food for accompanying animals and livestock feed for farm animals.

Hielscher Ultrasonics – Sofisticados equipos de extracción

Hielscher Ultrasonics product portfolio covers the full range of high-performance ultrasonic extractors from small to large scale. Additional accessories allow for the easy assembly of the most suitable ultrasonic device configuration for your insect protein process. The optimal ultrasonic setup depends on the envisaged capacity, volume, raw material, batch or inline process and timeline.

Por lotes y en línea

Hielscher ultrasonicators can be used for batch and continuous flow-through processing. Ultrasonic batch processing is ideal for process testing, optimisation and small to mid-size production level. For a producing large volumes of insect proteins, inline processing might be more advantageous. Whilst batching requires only a very simple setup, it is more time- and labour-intensive. A continuous inline mixing process requires sophisticated setup – que consiste en una bomba, mangueras o tuberías y tanques -, pero es más eficiente, más rápido y requiere significativamente menos mano de obra. Hielscher Ultrasonics tiene la configuración de extracción más adecuada para su volumen de extracción y objetivos del proceso.

Extractores ultrasónicos para cualquier capacidad de producto

Célula de flujo UIP4000hdT para sonicación en línea a escala industrialLa gama de productos de Hielscher Ultrasonics cubre todo el espectro de procesadores por ultrasonidos, desde los compactos ultrasonicadores de laboratorio, pasando por los sistemas de sobremesa y piloto, hasta los procesadores por ultrasonidos totalmente industriales con capacidad para procesar camiones cargados por hora. La gama completa de productos nos permite ofrecerle el extractor por ultrasonidos más adecuado para su materia prima, capacidad de proceso y objetivos de producción.
Los sistemas ultrasónicos de sobremesa son ideales para pruebas de viabilidad y optimización de procesos. El escalado lineal basado en parámetros de proceso establecidos facilita enormemente el aumento de las capacidades de procesamiento desde lotes más pequeños hasta la producción totalmente comercial. La ampliación puede realizarse instalando una unidad de extracción por ultrasonidos más potente o agrupando varios ultrasonicadores en paralelo. Con el UIP16000, Hielscher ofrece el extractor por ultrasonidos más potente del mundo.

Amplitudes controlables con precisión para resultados óptimos

All Hielscher ultrasonicators are precisely controllable and thereby reliable work horses in production. The amplitude is one of the crucial process parameters that influence the efficiency and effectiveness of ultrasonic extraction of nutrients from insects.
Hielscher's industrial processors of the hdT series can be comfortable and user-friendly operated via browser remote control.Insect material such as larvae and flies require milder sonication and lower amplitude settings, whilst crickets and insects with a thick exoskeleton shell require sonication at higher amplitudes to release the targeted nutrients. All Hielscher Ultrasonics’ permiten ajustar con precisión la amplitud. Los sonotrodos y las bocinas de refuerzo son accesorios que permiten modificar la amplitud en un rango aún más amplio. Los procesadores ultrasónicos industriales de Hielscher pueden proporcionar amplitudes muy elevadas y ofrecer la intensidad ultrasónica necesaria para aplicaciones exigentes. Amplitudes de hasta 200µm pueden funcionar fácilmente de forma continua en funcionamiento 24/7.
Los ajustes precisos de la amplitud y la supervisión permanente de los parámetros del proceso ultrasónico mediante un software inteligente le ofrecen la posibilidad de tratar sus semillas con las condiciones ultrasónicas más eficaces. Sonicación óptima para obtener los mejores resultados de extracción.
La robustez de los equipos de ultrasonidos de Hielscher permite un funcionamiento ininterrumpido en condiciones de trabajo duras y en entornos exigentes. Esto convierte a los equipos de ultrasonidos de Hielscher en una herramienta de trabajo fiable que satisface sus requisitos de extracción.

Pruebas fáciles y sin riesgos

Ultrasonic processes can be completely linear scaled. This means every result that you have achieved using a lab or bench-top ultrasonicator, can be scaled to exactly the same output using the exactly same process parameters. This makes ultrasonication ideal for risk-free feasibility testing, process optimization and subsequent implementation into commercial manufacturing. Contact us to learn how sonication can increase your insect protein production.

Máxima calidad – Diseñado y fabricado en Alemania

Como empresa de propiedad y gestión familiar, Hielscher prioriza los más altos estándares de calidad para sus procesadores por ultrasonidos. Todos los ultrasonicadores se diseñan, fabrican y prueban exhaustivamente en nuestra sede de Teltow, cerca de Berlín (Alemania). La robustez y fiabilidad de los equipos de ultrasonidos de Hielscher los convierten en un caballo de batalla en su producción. El funcionamiento 24/7 a plena carga y en entornos exigentes es una característica natural de los mezcladores de alto rendimiento de Hielscher.

En la siguiente tabla encontrará algunas indicaciones sobre la capacidad de procesamiento aproximada de nuestros sonicadores:

Volumen del lote Tasa de flujo Dispositivos recomendados
1 a 500 mL 10 a 200 mL/min. UP100H
10 a 2000 mL 20 a 400 mL/min. UP200Ht, UP400St
0,1 a 20 L 0,2 a 4 L/min UIP2000hdT
10 a 100 L 2 a 10 L/min UIP4000hdT
n.a. 10 a 100 L/min UIP16000
n.a. mayor Grupo de UIP16000

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Hielscher Ultrasonics fabrica homogeneizadores ultrasónicos de alto rendimiento para dispersión, emulsificación y extracción celular.

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Literatura / Referencias

Información interesante


The use of insect as nutritional compound to feed humans and animal is termed “entomophagy”. The Oxford Online Dictionary defines the term “entomophagy” as “the practice of eating insects, especially by people.” Since insects are a sustainable source rich in high-quality proteins and lipids, insects such as crickets, flies, larvae, worms, maggots, beetles and cockroaches are grown and processed for the production of proteins and fatty acids for human and animal nutrition.

Insects as Nutritional Protein Source

Insects are known as a source for high quality protein, containing many essential amino acids. Therefore, numerous crickets, grasshoppers, beetles, moths, worms, flies and various other insects are bred to produce proteins for human and animal consumption. Besides being rich in proteins, insects are also a significant source of fatty acids, minerals (e.g., iron, zinc, potassium, selenium, and copper) and vitamins (mostly B vitamins). For instance, insects such as crickets and mealworms have high concentrations of complete protein, vitamin B12, riboflavin and vitamin A.
In contrast to animal derived products, insects contain also dietary fibre. Insect fibre is mainly found in form of chitin, an essential building block of the exoskeleton.
Commonly bred insects for protein production are the following species:

  • The mealworm (Tenebrio Molitor L.) is the larvae form of a species of darkling beetles (Coleoptera). The optimum incubation temperature is 25 ̊C27 ̊C and its embryonic development lasts 4 – 6 days. It has a long larvae period of about half a year with the optimum temperature and low moisture terminates. The protein content of Tenebrio Molitor larvae and adult are 46.44% and 63.34%, respectively.
  • The house cricket (Acheta domesticus) is the most common cricket type used for human consumption. The cricket is well-known to be one of the most nutritious edible insects. Crickets can be consumed dry-roasted, baked, deep-fried, boiled or used as food ingredient. To integrate crickets into functional foods, food formulations or recipes, cricket meal or flour is used. Cricket meal is a powder of dried and fine ground crickets. Crickets mature quickly and are typically full-grown within 3 -4 weeks. An individual female can lay from 1,200 to 1,500 eggs in 3-4 weeks. Due to the quick and simple growing, crickets are farmed for human nutrition as well as for animal food. Crickets are normally killed by deep freezing, where they feel no pain and are sedated before neurological death.
  • The black soldier fly (Hermetia illucens) is a common and widespread fly of the family Stratiomyidae. Black soldier flies are widely farmed due to their exceptional high protein content and the low requirements during breeding and growing stages. They requiresvery few resources, which makes it possible to effectively treat bio-waste. Black soldier fly larvae (BSFL) contain up to 43% of protein, 35% fatty acids, and are rich in calcium and other micro-nutrients. Since the larvae have the highest protein content, black soldier flies are bred only for approx. 18 days until they have reached the larvae stadium and are then harvested. The complete life cycle of the black soldier fly is only 6 weeks short.
    Black soldier fly (Hermetia illucens) larvae have been also successfully used as source to extract lipids, which were subsequently nano-emulsified by ultrasonication.