For months, parts of Africa and Asia have been plagued by locusts. Although the locust plague in India is almost over, it seems that there is a growing trend in Africa.
In the face of such news, someone threw out the old idea of “eating food to cure disasters” and joked: “if locusts dare to come, we will burn oil and eat them.” However, can locust plague be solved by food?
Not every locust can eat it
In fact, eating locusts is not the patent of modern people. Locusts can be used for food and medicine since ancient times. According to the compendium of Materia Medica, locusts can cure many diseases, such as cough, shortness of breath, tetanus, acute and chronic convulsions, hypertension, etc.
A large number of modern researches on the nutritional value of grasshoppers show that the protein content of grasshoppers is as high as 74%. Most species of grasshoppers contain more than ten kinds of amino acids. The ratio of polyunsaturated fatty acids to saturated fatty acids is even higher than that of most animal oils. The quality of oil is higher than that of rapeseed oil but similar to that of peanut oil.
Generally speaking, locust is a kind of natural health food with high protein, low fat, low energy and rich in minerals.
Zhang Zhigang, engineer of Inner Mongolia Institute of biotechnology, told Science and Technology Daily: “human edible animals must be considered and implemented within the scope of human production and living environment. There is no doubt that the epidemic situation we have experienced and are experiencing has proved that it is extremely dangerous to extend this scope to nature. The latest research shows that locusts are no exception. ”
Zhang Zhigang said that on our daily dining table, especially on the barbecue table, the fried locusts and roasted locusts that many people eat are basically cultivated or scattered.
However, this does not mean that locusts can eat under any circumstances, nor does it mean that any locust can eat.
When locust plague comes, we should make less ridicule and conjecture
Hao Jianguang is a birdwatcher. He has been birdwatching dozens of times in Inner Mongolia Grassland in the past 20 years. He recalled: “many years ago, when I was observing larks, I caught up with grassland locust plague several times. Larks were the natural enemies of locusts, but every time there was a locust plague, larks often didn’t eat locusts much, which bothered me for many years.”
In fact, this phenomenon also plagued the scientific community. It was only after Wei Jianing, academician of recreation and associate researcher of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, made significant progress in the research on “locust colony defense mechanism” that this question was answered.
Locusts can switch back and forth between living alone and living in groups. The team found that the gregarious locusts would release a large amount of the volatile compound phenylacetonitrile, while the scattered locusts almost did not synthesize phenylacetonitrile, and the gregarious locusts would immediately convert phenylacetonitrile into highly toxic compound hydrocyanic acid when attacked.
When locusts gather in large numbers, their natural enemies don’t like to eat locusts. At this time, not only animals can’t eat locusts, but also people can’t eat them.
Zhang Zhigang said: “animal aggregation is a common natural phenomenon. After some animals gather, their individual shape and group color will change. This change is obviously born to resist natural enemies.
In other words, group animals may have the ability to defend against natural enemies that individuals and scattered animals do not have. This important research progress of the Chinese Academy of Sciences has scientifically explained this ability of locusts. “
“People can benefit from a few drops of rain, but when the flood comes, people can’t enjoy it. Logically speaking, the reason for locusts and locust plague also lies in this.”
Zhang Zhigang said, “any major breakthrough in the study of nature, in the final analysis, is to remind human beings how to live in better harmony with nature; when the locust plague strikes, we should be less ridicule and imagination, more popular science, and always maintain the awe of nature.”