Scientists in the United States have found a way to eradicate insects from food that was once considered “unclean”.
Dr Susanne Schubert, from the University of Colorado, Boulder, told ABC News Australia that a new study suggests the world should “stop trying to catch every bug”.
“We are now seeing that bugs have a way of doing that, but also that they have an advantage in that they can be introduced to people and eat them,” Dr Schuberg said.
“Insects are a really good source of food, but they also have the advantage of being able to be ingested by people and they can spread diseases.”
Dr Schuberger said the study found the world’s population of insects is growing exponentially.
She said a study of bugs that were introduced to the US showed that a group of them can be as dangerous as a virus.
Dr Michael Shull, a researcher at the University at Albany, said the bugs were a problem because they were spreading and the insects were being eaten.
“[It’s] really the perfect environment for the emergence of new pathogens,” Dr Shull said.
“We see this in many other countries where we see outbreaks of various kinds of diseases.”
Dr Schupbert said the best way to combat the spread of the bugs was to limit the number of bugs in food, and to avoid using insecticides.
The researchers said they were surprised to find a way around the problem.
Insecticides can be toxic to humans and can lead to cancer, but Dr Schupberger said this study showed that the bugs could be “killed without killing anybody”.
She also said the insects could be a “bridge to other insects”.
The study was published in the journal PLOS One.
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