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Nutrient content of earthworms consumed by Ye'Kuana Amerindians of the Alto Orinoco of Venezuela

M. G. Paoletti, E. Buscardo, D. J. VanderJagt, A. Pastuszyn, L. Pizzoferrato, Y.-S. Huang, L.-T. Chuang, M. Millson, H. Cerda, F. Torres, R. H. Glew

Abstract

For the Makiritare (Ye'Kuana) native people of the Alto Orinoco (Venezuela), earthworms (Anellida: Glossoscolecidae) are an important component of the diet. Two species in particular are widely consumed: ‘kuru’ (Andiorrhinus kuru n. sp.) and ‘motto’ (Andiorrhinus motto). We analysed eviscerated kuru body proper, and whole and smoked preparations of motto for their content of protein and amino acids, fatty acids and 20 minerals and trace elements.

The samples contained large amounts of protein (64.5–72.9% of dry weight), essential amino acids, calcium and iron together with notable quantities of other important elements, indicating that these earthworms contain potentially useful quantities of many nutrients that are critical to the health of the humans who consume them.

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