What role can insects play in feeding a growing population and meeting the global demand for animal feed? Are they safe to eat? Even after being used to break down waste? Is insect-derived protein more environmentally friendly than other options?
And will we be able to order McMaggot burgers in our local restaurants soon?
The potential benefits of insects all across the food chain are gradually being recognised. Insects can be used to break down waste, ensuring that less of it ends up in landfills with their associated problems such as greenhouse gas emissions, ground and surface water contamination and transmission of diseases. The same insects can then be fed to animals, which will in turn be consumed by humans. The waste produced can be fed back to insects, closing the cycle in a highly efficient way.
And edible insects, long a feature of traditional food markets, are increasingly being thought of as an environmentally friendly - as well as commercially viable - source of protein for direct human consumption.
In tonight's session of Science & Cocktails, Elsje Pieterse will discuss the value of insects for breaking down waste and producing feed as well as food. She will review which species have already been tested for these purposes, what the results are so far, and what products have been developed.
Dr. Pieterse will then move on to her current and planned research on insect-derived 'natural antibiotics', enzymes for healing diabetic ulcers, antiviral effects (which may play a role in fighting avian influenza) - and even the possible use of certain species for disinfection of botulism and anthrax-contaminated carcasses.
Afterwards, smoky bug-repelling cocktails at the bar while Flex (Of He & I) explore the marriage of music and poetry through stories from the Mother Continent.
Entrance to the event costs R20. Doors open at 18:30, no admittance after 20:00. No registration is necessary but guests are strongly encouraged to arrive early. Dinner is served from 18:00. Guests wishing to have dinner before the event should book in advance with The Orbit and arrive by 18:30. (Last orders for dinner at 19:15 to make it to the event).