Eri silkworm: a source of edible oil with a high content of α-linolenic acid and of significant nutritional value



BACKGROUND: The study was undertaken to provide value addition to spent eri silkworm as an alternative source of edible oil for the food and feed industry by carrying out a short-term nutritional and toxicological evaluation of eri silkworm pupae oil using Wistar NIN rats.

RESULTS: Growth performance of rats fed either sunflower oil (Control) or eri silkworm pupae oil (Experimental) was comparable. Histopathological examination of the various tissues showed no signs of toxicity even after feeding the eri silkworm oil for 18 weeks. Serum cholesterol and triglyceride was significantly reduced (P < 0.05) while high-density lipoprotein cholesterol was significantly increased (P < 0.05) which is attributed to the high α-linolenic acid content of eri silkworm oil.

CONCLUSION: The study showed that eri silkworm pupae oil is safe and nutritionally equivalent to commonly used vegetable oils. Eri silkworm pupae can be harvested to provide a cost effective alternative edible oil that can be used to nutritional advantage in the food and feed industry. Therefore eri silkworm and its host plants offer an excellent example of multiple product crops and of sustainable agricultural practice with excellent opportunity for economic and nutritional benefits. Copyright © 2012 Society of Chemical Industry