Loungu (Carpenter worm): Indigenous Delicious Insects with Immense Dietary Potential in Nagaland state, India

Firake, D M; Aochen, C ; Krishnappa, R ; Pyngrope, S ; Aochen, S ; Ningombam, A ; Behere, G T; Ngachan, S V

Abstract

Carpenter worms of genus Cossus (Lepidoptera: Cossidae) are common wood-boring insects that can cause significant damage to several economically important plant species across the globe. Nevertheless, these worms are a popular delicacy among the indigenous population of Nagaland state of India since age old days. The carpenter worms (locally known as ‘Loungu’) are culturally significant during the Te-l Khukhu festival of Southern Angami region, annually held during July. The direct larval consumption is also cited for medicinal value. Rearing of carpenter worm is gaining popularity in hill tracts of Nagaland, because of its potential as a viable source of income for the rural population. The present study aimed to determine the eventual nutritional value of the larva by approximating its nutritional potential for the first time. Proximate analysis presents a significantly higher value of crude fat (37%), crude protein (48%), crude fibre (12.90%) and an appreciable calorific value. Close correlation between increased polyphenol value with its higher antioxidant capacity and pigment content is strongly evident. Nevertheless, the larva also provides appreciable quantities of dietary minerals reflected in terms of higher zinc and iron content. Analysis of thin layer chromatography undertaken in the study interestingly identified some of the essential amino acids, viz., methionine, lysine, leucine, histidine, threonine etc. This is the first report pioneering other detail studies to establish the significant value of carpenter worm larvae as an exotic dietary supplement among the indigenous Naga population, thereby providing more impetus for its promotion and commercialization.

Keyword(s)

Economic potential; Edible insect; Indigenous food; Mineral elements; Nutritional potential

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