Short Communication

Aroma Characteristics of Raw and Cooked Tenebrio molitor Larvae (Mealworms)

Hojun Seo1, Haeng Ran Kim2, In Hee Cho1,*
Author Information & Copyright
1Wonkwang University, Iksan 54875, Korea.
2Rural Development Administration (RDA), Wanju 55365, Korea.
*Corresponding Author: In Hee Cho, Wonkwang University, Iksan 54875, Korea. E-mail:

© Copyright 2020 Korean Society for Food Science of Animal Resources. This is an Open-Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Received: Feb 05, 2020 ; Revised: Mar 10, 2020 ; Accepted: Apr 24, 2020

Published Online: May 07, 2020


This study compared aroma compositions and sensory aroma attributes of raw and cooked Tenebrio molitor larvae (mealworms). Main sensory aroma attributes of raw mealworms were strong wet-soil-like, and less-intense oily, shrimp-like and sweet-corn-like. Quantitatively, the major aroma components of raw mealworms were hydrocarbons and aldehydes. As cooking proceeded, sweet-corn-like, roasted, and fried-oil-like sensory attributes were increasingly perceived with steaming, roasting, and frying, respectively. Some pyrazines, pyrrolidines, and carbonyls increased or appeared in roasted and fried mealworms. Partial least squares regression also showed differences in raw and cooked mealworms based on aroma components and their sensory attributes. Unlike raw mealworms, steamed mealworms had a relatively strong sweet-corn-like aroma attribute, which was related to 2,4,6-trimethyl-heptane, 2,4-dimethyl-dodecane, and 3,5-dihydroxy-6-methyl-2,3-dihydropyran-4-one. In comparison, roasted and fried mealworms exhibited roasted, shrimp-like, and fried-oil-like aroma attributes, which were associated with intermediates of the Maillard reaction and lipid oxidation, such as pyrazines, alcohols, and aldehydes. This result during thermal reactions was very similar to those of meat and/or seafood. The use of mealworms as a savory-type flavor enhancer can be expected.

Keywords: Tenebrio molitor larvae (mealworms); aroma compositions; sensory aroma attributes; cooking methods; partial least squares regression

Journal Title Change

We announce that the title of our journal and related information were changed as below from January, 2019.


Before (~2018.12)

After (2019.01~)

Journal Title

Korean Journal for Food Science of Animal Resources

Food Science of Animal Resources

Journal Abbreviation

Korean J. Food Sci. An.

Food Sci. Anim. Resour.







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