About Tenebrio molitor

The mealworm, an alternative protein with numerous benefits

Tenebrio Molitor

The mealworm

Over 150 million years old and with a high content of protein, fatty acids, phosphorus and calcium, the mealworm is a sustainable, healthy and safe option for both human and animal nutrition.

As well, 100% of its components and by-products are useable, either as natural biofertilizers or for biotechnological, pharmaceutical and cosmetic uses.

a la izquierda hay gusanos tenebrio molitor o tambien llamados Mealworm y a la derecha hay un cuenco con harina de gusano alta en proteínas

Mealworm life cycle


The eggs of the Tenebrio molitor, or mealworm, are white, bean-shaped, and about the size of a speck of dust. It has an average hatching time of 1 to 4 weeks.

Larval Stage

This stage is the one of greatest interest in the production of protein for livestock purposes, as well as for the production of high-quality healthy food for humans and pets. The larval stage lasts between 8 and 10 weeks.


This is the transition stage between the larval stage and the adult stage of the beetle. In this state, the insect remains motionless and feeds on the reserves accumulated during the larval stage. It lasts between 1 and 3 weeks.

Imagen que muestra el ciclo de crecimiento del Tenebrio molitor Protiberia

Adult Beetle

The final stage of the Tenebrio molitor life cycle, the beetle phase lasts between 8 and 12 weeks. In this phase, the beetle is sexually active and a single female can lay up to 500 eggs. Its exoskeleton is used to extract chitin, a highly in-demand substance in the cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries.

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A superfood with countless benefits

The mealworm, Tenebrio molitor, is certified by the European Food Safety Agency (EFSA) for human consumption and is a more sustainable food than traditional protein sources.


Over 50% protein


High-quality unsaturated fats


Vitamins A, D2, D3, E, C, B2 and B9


Iron, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium and zinc


Easily digestible

Commitment to the environment

Positively impacting nature

The use of Tenebrio molitor not only benefits people and animals while solving the protein crisis of the future, but it also preserves the environment by reducing water consumption and avoiding the emission of greenhouse gases. Breeding only requires a little space and does not generate any waste.

It is a healthier option, as well as cleaner and more sustainable.

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What is the mealworm used for?

Tenebrio meal for human consumption and animal feed.

  • Description

    Its high protein concentration, easy digestibility, and palatability make it the ideal feed. Even better, it is hypoallergenic!

  • Applications

    Tenebrio meal is an ingredient in animal feed (pet food, aquaculture fish, and poultry) and human food (snacks, cookies, etc.)

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Harina de Tenebrio para consumo humano
The use of frass as biofertilizer

Frass Biofertilizer

  • Characteristics

    Frass is a biofertilizer derived from Tenebrio excrement.

    In addition to having a high and balanced NPK profile, it acts as a biostimulant and provides resistance to pathogenic bacteria and fungi.

  • Applications

    Frass is 100% natural, making it ideal for organic farming: woody crops, horticultural crops, ornamentals, and biogas.

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Insect Oils

  • Characteristics

    Tenebrio lipids are oil obtained through mechanical methods.

    Its rich concentration in unsaturated fats makes this product a good ingredient for animal nutrition.

  • Applications

    The oils are used as a human and animal feed additive.

    It can also be used in aquaculture, poultry, pets, and farm animals (except ruminants).

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Live and dehydrated Tenebrio molitor larvae

  • Characteristics

    Our insects have a high protein content and high palatability.

    In addition, they are easily digestible.

  • Applications

    Live larvae serve as fishing bait or as food for certain birds and exotic animals.

    They can also be offered dehydrated for pets and farm animals.

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Tenebrio Chitin

  • Characteristics

    Chitin is found mainly in the exoskeletons of adult Tenebrio molitor beetles.

  • Applications

    Chitin and its derivatives, such as chitosan (obtained by deacetylation of chitin), make it a promising material in developing new biomaterials, drug delivery systems, and products for health care and wound healing.

    In addition, these compounds are used in wastewater treatment and as food packaging materials. Their application in the production of bioplastics is also currently being investigated.

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  • Is the mealworm a safe food for human consumption?

    Yes, it is a healthy, sustainable and safe food. It was certified by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) on January 13, 2021, as a safe food for human consumption in Europe

  • How can the Tenebrio molitor, or mealworm, be consumed?

    Tenebrio molitor is processed into flour that can be used in a wide variety of food products. It can also be turned into snacks or sports supplements for athletes. The possibilities are numerous; it’s possible to develop many quality, tasty and healthy products using the raw material of the mealworm

  • Why is Tenebrio molitor a better alternative than the use of conventional fertilizers?

    The mealworm, in addition to being 100% organic and natural, favours the growth of crops. Because the Tenebrio molitor’s droppings (frass) have antibacterial and anti-fungal properties, it also protects the plants from pests and pathogens

  • Does the mealworm provide enough protein to an animal or is it necessary to combine it with a more traditional source?

     The Tenebrio molitor protein is a complement to the usual protein sources. This means that it is not a substitute but an addition that, when combined with others, improves our health and protects the environment

  • Did you know that more than 2 billion people eat insects every day?

    They are a protein-rich food that will help solve the future problem of overpopulation and are already consumed in the form of flour, snacks, supplements, etc. At Protiberia we are committed to the Tenebrio molitor insect, a sustainable superfood that contains proteins, vitamins and minerals.

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