Saturday, August 20, 2022

Insect protein

I must confess that I am extremely cynical about insect based protein ever becoming a major source of dietary protein in the developed world. Let me share the reasons why.

Conservation of mass

In the world described by Newtonian physics, that is regions outside of nuclear reactors, outside of the interior of the sun or black-holes, matter is neither created or destroyed.

Since E=mc^2, energy is also not created or destroyed. It may appear to be created or destroyed but that is because it can be stored or it can flow.

At a micro-level, protein is an energy-intense, organically-bound form of nitrogen. Air is 78% percent nitrogen gas but the two atoms of nitrogen in a molecule of nitrogen gas are so tightly bound together as to approach an inert gas. If the chemists out there will forgive me for an analogy, changing atmospheric nitrogen to a form that is biologically available is the equivalent of dropping an empty bucket down a very, very deep well and then pulling the filled bucket back up to the surface. It takes a lot of energy.

 Insects do not create protein. They convert protein.

Insects cannot snatch nitrogen out of the air and create protein. Nor can they take ammonia or nitrates and convert them to protein.

So one of the critical questions is "What is the protein conversion rate" of an insect farm?

The short answer is "Not significantly better than confinement raised chickens or aquaculture."

Yes, insects can be fed waste products like manure or rotten melons but those products are low in protein or low in energy or both. To produce enough end-product to be economically viable insect farms require feed that is approximately the equivalent of what is fed to hogs or chickens. Thus, the primary argument for raising insects for protein is nuked...the insects must consume human-quality food to be economically viable and are thus competing with humans for food.

Another problem with insects is rather technical. Early scientific research on the concept used the approximation that the protein content is 16-times the weight of the nitrogen in the insects. That is, to calculate the protein content the researchers dehydrated the insects, put them in a container and pull a vacuum. Then they heated them up until the bugs were char. They ran the gasses through an analyzer to determine percent (weight) of the nitrogen given off.

While it is true that protein is 6.25% nitrogen by weight and 1/6.25% equals 16, an insect's exoskeleton is made of chitin, a nitrogen-rich polysaccharide. Chitin is NOT protein. More recent studies suggest that 25% of the nitrogen in the species of insects most commonly proposed for food is from their exoskeleton. That means that the slaughter-ready bug produces far less protein than the initial studies claimed.

As a final reality check, if there is no industry processing 2"-to-3" long bluegills which can produce 300 pounds of biomass (meat) per acre every year with almost no inputs then why would anybody think that it is economically viable to process much smaller bugs that must be fed human-quality feed-stocks for "meat"?


My take on insect-based-meat is that it is a tempest-in-a-teapot. The more important question is "What issues are this fabricated distraction masking?"


  1. The "insect protein" insanity comes from the same fetid irrational minds that are pushing GROSSLY inefficient EV's over proven mature ICE technology. They do not live in the real world. They do not understand actual science. And their goals are NOT in our best interests. In short the inmates are running the asylum and if we don't lock their asses back up soon the whole place will go up in flames.

  2. they hate us and want us dead.

    feeding us bugs is just a form of torture to make us suffer first.

    humans are not equipped to digest bugs.
    this upsets the circle of life, how God intended nature to work.
    because TPTB think they are gods or want to replace Him.

    those who refuse to be governed by God will be ruled by tyrants.
    we are living that.

    1. Yep. I'm pretty sure this big "You vill eat ze bugs, ja?" push is attributable to some globalist kink about making the plebes do disgusting things.

  3. I agree that the lunatics are running the asylum. That is a reason to be optimistic because it suggests that our problems are not hard-wired by physics and chemistry but can be resolved if we replace or neutralize the lunatics.

    An alternative to the "Torture" hypothesis is that TPTB are trying to create another Dutch Tulip Bulb bubble using Insect Based Protein as the basis. They want to be in on the first floor to harvest the astounding amounts of liquidity the Central Banks are pumping into the economy. If the sheeple chase "the smart money" then every me-too investor looking for The-Next-Big-Thing will follow them in, physics be damned.

    1. Good point. Always follow the money, especially the money the billionaires pushing this agenda are investing based on their insider information. However:

      "They are lying. We know they're lying. They know we know they're lying, and they're still lying." The point to communist propaganda is *not* to get you to believe it, but rather to get you to repeat it. It's less about decieving you than about breaking your spirit to resist. It's largely about humiliation.

  4. I’m not as optimistic that things will change for the better. I would offer the state of California as my example.

  5. I have ZERO problems eating bugs/insects.
    1: Don't tell me I HAVE to do it because we need to "save the planet"
    2: Don't make idiotic and moronic policies that remove real animal protein from our food supplies.

    1. I'm reminded of the story my father, a WW2 Army vet of the Pacific who had been stationed for some time in New Guinea, used to tell:

      The new arrivals would discover the bugs in their food, and refuse to eat it.
      The people who had been there a few weeks would take the bugs out of their food, and then eat.
      The people who had been there a few months just ate the food, bugs and all.
      Anyone who had been there more than 6 months would go looking for bugs to add to their food , if by chance there weren't any already in it.

    2. All insects harbor parasites which are dangerous to human health. Unless your body has adapted to them somehow from birth, you can only eat them safely if they are *very* well cooked, which reduces their nutritional value, and that of the food they infested.

  6. On vacation this week, I spent an afternoon re-reading Animal Farm for the first time since 8th grade English class 40-50 years ago. I'm glad I did in the sense that doing this kind of cleaned my glasses again and let me see clearly, although I'm sorry I can see the current mess better.
    So I'm glad to read your information (very well-researched! even I can understand the relevant organic chemistry the way you explain it in small bits). I believe your conclusion that this scheme can't work to feed the proles. However, I just realized that the WEF-people's obsession with having us little people eat insects is just one of their Lysenko fads. If nothing changes, they'll force us into their green no-energy bug-eating world and then when people starve and freeze, the response will be that we're not doing it hard enough or to find some counter-revolutionary wreckers.
    If only we could gather up enough torches and pitchforks early enough to fix this!

    1. If "they" are trying to disarm you, and "they" are, consider what "they" are planning to do to you, that would, finally, motivate you (and me) to shoot "them"?

  7. Insects are chock full of parasites that do not all die even after high temp roasting or whatever, as if we needed another reason to tell em to go fuck themselves

  8. We drove our new Kia Rio 5 door Hatchback in to town for a quick Whopper meal at Burger King . The Rio is getting 52 mpg right now combined city/highway though admittedly we don't do much city driving . The Local McD's has already gave up on their version of a fake meat burger because nobody here in these parts wants them . But "Have it your Way " Burger King tells us they are out of Whoppers but they have the fake meat Impossible Whopper . I told them no thanks , we'll just drive over to McD's and get a real burger and we did .

    1. You meant "52 mpg"??
      That's quite a bit higher than advertised.
      Do you manually calculate the MPG?
      On my Kona, the computer is exactly 10% higher than my calculations.
      But if you are getting 52 mpg, WOO HOO !!


  10. Always has been. When you go to Africa and actually talk to people in the field, they will flat state that eating grasshoppers, etc. is NOT their choice unless they are starving! They prefer beef, which is why they raise cattle.

  11. The Green Movement has at its roots, a commitment to eugenics, to reducing the global population. It's out there in the open and has been since the 1970's when books about the 'Population Bomb' starting coming out (all predictions within having been long disproved). There have been several famous persons that have openly recommended this. Jane Goodall is a good example, advocating for a return to a global population of around 500 million. The WEF 'Great Reset' is another, with leaders speaking about the future irrelevancy of the majority of the population, as AI and automation takes over and employment is made redundant.

    There is an inherent objection to abundant, cheap energy, with the same eugenic roots. The Green Movement strongly objects to readily-available, cheap, clean, abundant energy for the masses. The issue isn't pollution or risk; it's the idea that too many people can do something with the energy, to change their surroundings in some way that improves their life. They are objecting based on their own imaginary fears of felt impact.

    Hence, we are being pushed into an age of energy poverty. You are seeing it unfold in real time, with the early shuttering of nuclear power plants before their obsolescence, and with the unfolding world of brownouts and blackouts, first in Australia a couple of years ago (brownouts due to over-commitment to solar), then in California, now in Europe, soon to become problematic here. It's not 'Go Green'; the objective is 'Go Without'.

    This is readily apparent when you see industrialists declare, for instance, that they will no longer be manufacturing internal combustion engines, in just a few short years. It is clear: Nobody has a plan. Nobody has done the math; there has been very little engineering input supporting these commitments; There have been none of the public policy decisions required to lay the groundwork for their arrival on the scene. If the world's fleet were to be converted to battery power, the spending to accommodate and support that plan would have started 10 years ago.

    The disastrous effects will be felt by all of us - but not by the people responsible. They have their own best interests at heart, but not yours. You are the carbon consumer they want to reduce.

  12. Ultimately it all comes down to conversion factors and feed efficiency.

    1. No, I don't NOT come down to conversion factors. My chickens eat things I do not want to eat. They clear my garden from unwanted bugs that eat my crops. Thus, I don't use as many toxic poisons to keep my garden reasonably safe from them. My chickens eat from the multi-species pasture I run. Thus, eliminating much of my need to use toxins to deworm my critters.

      "Modern Industrial Farming" is profitable in the short run as History thinks but soon reduces the soil from a living self-regenerating system to a near sterile dirt that merely supports the heavily sprayed for bugs and weeds fertilizer fed structure. AND SO ON. I could write whole paragraphs about the multi-level interfaces of natural small holder farming systems.

      But the writer of Farmers of 10 thousand years already did.

      Bug farming is essentially "Industrial Farming" and the multi-layered "efficiencies" will soon run afoul of nature's rules.


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