House cricket is currently introduced for scaled-up production in farming systems in Kenya and other parts of the world, as an alternative source of animal proteins. The aim of this study was to assess the nutritional composition in farmed cricket as influenced by age in order to ascertain the optimal harvesting time for possible utilization of crickets in improving child nutrition in Kenya. Sampling was carried out between weeks 4 and 13. The moisture content was analysed by drying method, chitin by sodium hydroxide digestion, protein content by estimation of total nitrogen, crude fat by soxhlet extraction method, ash by muffle furnace incineration, available carbohydrates by subtraction, and energy by calculation method. The crude protein mean ranged from 36.00 to 60.00 g/100 g, chitin 2.20 to 12.40 g/100 g, total lipids 12.00 to 25.00 g/100 g, over the 13 weeks period. Minerals concentration was optimum at week 9, with magnesium 1.30 to 11.30 mg/100 g, calcium 1.40 to 19.70 mg/100 g, and zinc 0.20 to 16.60 mg/100 g. Findings from this study indicate that farmed cricket would be best harvested between weeks 9 and 11, when the protein and mineral content is optimum. Nutrients available in farmed crickets show that farmed crickets can be used in child food ingredients to improve child nutrition.
Key words: Farmed crickets, proximate, protein, fatty acid, omega 3, omega 6, minerals, child nutrition.
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