The larvae of the insect Rhynchophorus phoenicis are consumed by the rural people in Nigeria. The proximate composition of the larvae was determined by standard analytical methods. The amino acid composition was determined using an Amino Acid Analyzer and the fatty acid profile was determined with the aid of a gas chromatograph-mass spectrophotometer. The vitamin and mineral contents were analysed by high pressure liquid chromatography and atomic absorption spectrophotometry, respectively. The proximate composition in percentage for crude protein, crude lipid, crude carbohydrate, crude fibre and ash content were 24.43±1.30, 15.36±0.82, 3.14±0.13, 2.27±0.28 and 1.00±0.19, respectively. Leucine (6.74 g/100 g protein) and lysine (5.83 g/100 g protein) were the highest essential amino acids present. The major fatty acids were margaric acid (43.4 %), petroselinic acid (31.06 %) and cis-13-octadecenoic acid (20.24 %). The unsaturated/saturated fatty acid ratio was 1:11. The major water-soluble vitamin was vitamin C(11.14 mg/100 g) and the main fat-soluble vitamin was vitamin E (25.18 mg/100 g). The results also indicate that the larvae were low in minerals. This study shows that R. phoenicis larvae can be used as a human food supplement to balance diet.
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Vol. 25 • No. 1