A digestibility study with laying hens was carried out to determine the nutritional value of a commercial and representative (batch to batch variance adjusted) insect meal based on Hermetia illucens (HI) larvae, (from black soldier fly) which was the objective in this study. A basal diet (BD; CP 15%), formulated and fed as such and an experimental diet (HD; CP 21%) consisting of BD with inclusion of 18% of the HI meal were used in the study. The BD and HD were fed to eight and six replicate metabolic cages, respectively, with eight Dekalb White laying hens each from 25 to 27 weeks of age. Diets (pelleted with TiO2 as marker) and water were available for ad libitum intake. Excreta was collected during the last three days to determine AMEn and apparent total tract faecal nutrient digestibility coefficients (ATTDC). Distal ileal content was collected at the last day of the experiment to determine apparent ileal amino acids digestibility of diets and HI meal. Using table values for endogenous losses standardised ileal amino acids digestibility coefficient (SIDC) of HI meal were also calculated. Analysed nutrients (g/kg) in HI meal were: 47 moisture, 529 crude protein, 71 ash, 135 fat and thus 218 was calculated as carbohydrates. Determined AME AMEn for HI meal was 3,846 kcal/kg dry matter (DM) and AMEn was 3,498 3,671 kcal/kg DM and ATTDC AFD for crude protein, crude fat and carbohydrates was 0.830, 0.940 and 0.680, respectively. Average SID coefficient for the 18 amino acids was 0.861 86.1%. Among indispensable amino acids SIDC ranged from 0.790% for threonine to 0.950% for phenylalanine and was 0.840% for lysine. These findings highlight that HI meal is an interesting alternative protein source for soybean meal (SBM). Besides market prices and availability, demands for more sustainable poultry production will determine the use of HI meals as alternative for SBM in poultry diets in the near future, especially in regions where SBM is imported from overseas.
The Asian giant hornet, Vespa magnifica is an edible insect fondly eaten in larval and adult stage in maximum ethnic communities of the Northeast India especially in Manipur state. The nutritional and anti-nutritional aspects of V. magnifica revealed high protein (31.1%, 38.4%), fat (22.0%, 8.13%), carbohydrates (1.67%, 0.72%) and fibre (0.69%, 4.34%) content in both larval and adult stage respectively. The results exhibited that consumption of 100 gram of V. magnifica in larval and adult stage provided optimal amount of energy (329.1 and 229.7 kcal, respectively). Iron, potassium, calcium, sodium, and phosphorus are the most prevalent minerals found in the edible hymenopteran that can be used as supplementary food to human diets. The IC50% of adults (0.701 mg/ml) exhibited lower value than larvae (0.813 mg/ml) expressing its stronger antioxidant properties than larval hymenopteran. Low levels of anti-nutritional components such as phenol (38.7 and 30.3 mg/g) and tannin (50.0 and 24.5 mg/g) have established the insects’ non-toxic character when taken as part of a human diet. The insect is widely available in Manipur local markets but at a very high price and great demand. It has the potential to support economic upliftment, nutrition and food security along with sustainable impact on environment.
Insects are increasingly considered as a relevant alternative protein source in the transition to a more circular economy and more sustainable food production. Understanding the profitability of insect farms is crucial for starting entrepreneurs, established rearers, and third parties. In this study we analysed the revenues and expenses of seven T. molitor farms in the Netherlands, representing approximately a quarter of the total sector. We calculated their gross margin and net present value. Revenues came from the sales of fresh larvae and insect frass, and from extension services. Expenses included investments, and non-allocated and variable expenses. Results cover technical and economic results, and a qualitative description of farm operations. The gross margins and net present values ranged from −180 to 2,030 and from −12,359 to 15,535 EUR/tonne fresh larvae production, respectively. The main determinants of T. molitor farms’ profitability included the sales price of larvae, and its labour and substrate expenses. Our estimates can be used by decision making of farmers, credit providers, and policy makers to support the growth of this still very small, but emerging sector.
Globally, large amounts of various crops such as cereals, oilseeds, nuts and spices are contaminated with mycotoxins during pre-harvest, postharvest handling, processing and/or storage. Mycotoxin contamination results into economic and health issues, and valorisation options of contaminated crops are urgently needed. The aim of this research was to evaluate whether quality feed and fertilizer can be safely produced from naturally mycotoxin contaminated crops using black soldier fly larvae (BSFL, Hermetia illucens L.) under realistic field conditions in East Africa. Naturally mycotoxin contaminated maize (corn; Zea mays L.) was used as a model due its prevalence as food and feed and utilized by BSFL together with local agri-food by-products at a research facility in Rwanda. To assess the influence of the initial maize mycotoxin contamination and maize inclusion, larval diets with three mycotoxin contamination levels and two maize inclusion levels were tested. BSFL were tolerant against the high mycotoxin concentrations (e.g. 99.4 μg aflatoxin B1 kg dry mass-1) as the presence of mycotoxins in the substrate did not affect BSFL mass at harvest. Product safety was assessed by quantifying the presence of 38 common and emerging mycotoxins and metabolites in the maize, substrates and BSFL products (e.g. larvae and frass). The results show that it is possible to produce feed and fertilizer with BSFL considered safe within the European Union and East African legal limits with maize contaminated with mycotoxins typical for East Africa. Thereby, this research works towards the safe recycling of nutrients from mycotoxin contaminated maize within the food system in East Africa and beyond.
Feeding poultry with live insect larvae stimulates natural behaviour and improves poultry welfare, when poultry has prolonged or frequent access to the larvae. But how to feed live insect larvae to poultry without labour-intensive hand feeding? This paper focusses on the development of a device that overcomes this challenge. A circular device was designed with eight storage compartments, which were filled once a day with live Black Soldier Fly (BSF) larvae (Hermetia illucens). A motor controlled the timed rotation of the device multiple times per day, initiating the release of larvae when a compartment was pushed over an outlet. Every 60 minutes, a new compartment was pushed over the outlet, which means that after eight hours all compartments are emptied. To achieve a gradual release of larvae per storage compartment the device was timed to move every 30 minutes half a storage compartment forward. The larval release was recorded every 5 minutes within the 60 minutes. The device was tested at 18 °C, 24 °C and 30 °C, with 3.4 g and 129.8 g BSF larvae per compartment, and with three different outlet types of different size and shape. The larval release rate was influenced by temperature, amount of larvae, outlet type, and interactions between these factors. After placing a new compartment above the outlet, 50% of the larvae were on average released within 6 minutes. After 60 minutes, on average only 0.5% larvae remained in the compartment. Outlets with wider openings are preferred over the outlet with the narrowest outlet because less larvae remained in the compartments. The dispenser fulfilled the low-labour-intensity requirement as filling was only necessary once a day, the release of different amounts of larvae was achieved over several hours. This automatic dispenser provides a valuable tool to investigate the behaviour of poultry fed with live BSF larvae.
Gut microbiota may have therapeutic effects on inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Regulating intestinal microbiota through Lactiplantibacillus plantarum (L. plantarum) and faecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) is a novel approach to treating IBD. This study aimed to explore the effect of L. plantarum and FMT pretreatment in alleviating colitis in mice. Five groups of mice (n = 6 per group) were included: CON group, DSS group (dextran sodium sulphate-induced colitis mice), LP-DSS pretreatment group (colitis mice were given strain L. plantarum and 5% DSS), DSS-FMT group (mice pretreated with faecal microbiota transplantation were given 5% DSS), and LP-FMT pretreatment group (mice pretreated with faecal microbiota transplantation and L. plantarum were given 5% DSS). Serum metabolites and intestinal microbiota were analysed by 16S rRNA sequencing liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS). The results demonstrated that L. plantarum and FMT improved gut microbiota in mice by increasing Firmicutes and decreasing the Bacteroidetes. In the serum metabolomics analysis, there were 11 differential metabolites in the DSS-FMT and LP-FMT pretreatment groups, and these differential metabolites were mainly glycerophospholipids and sphingolipids. It is worth noting that Lachnospira and Lactobacillus were positively associated with 8 differential metabolites. These results suggest that L. plantarum and FMT can regulate intestinal microorganisms and serum metabolomics to alleviate inflammation.
The secondary metabolite 3-nitropropionic acid (3-NPA) is produced by certain fungi. The metabolite is a potent toxin which inhibits the citric acid cycle. A medical case from 2021 described a 69-year-old Danish man who ingested 3-nitropropionic acid contaminated coconut water. The man died 26 hours after ingestion. Subsequent analysis identified Apiospora saccharicola as the fungi responsible for synthesising 3-NPA in the coconut. The metabolic pathway for 3-NPA is unknown but is thought to be activated by adverse growth conditions. This study aimed to confirm that Apiospora can produce 3-NPA within coconuts and develop a quick and easy method for detection of 3-NPA in coconut water using 1H NMR. This method can possibly aid in detection of 3-NPA in contaminated groceries, such as coconut water.
Nowadays, there is great pressure in cities on the demand and supply of food as well as environmental needs, and where Urban Agriculture emerges in various forms to confront this situation. Indeed, Urban Agriculture is a form of agriculture, highlighting its multiple functions in ensuring food security, maintaining urban ecosystem services, and improve the quality of life. Moreover, the use and transformation of abandoned areas is proving to be an appropriate way of creating new green spaces. This research article focuses on analysing the alignment between governance mechanisms, the distribution of the value created, together with the benefits derived. The comparison is based on four case studies in France, two in Paris (“La Caverne” and “Veni-Verdi”) and two in Rouen (“Le Champ des Possibles” and “Le Jardin de l’Astéroïde”) with different vocations (social vs economic), and which will serve as a basis for investigations into the theme of Food Governance Structures. This research work consisted of carrying out interviews with the stakeholders involved in Urban Agricultural Projects, as well as on-site visits for analysis and evaluation. An empirical analysis through the NVivo Software is used, which allowed the qualitative analysis of the data. The results show that there are similarities between the different initiatives, such as having a well-structured administrative office headed by a president, treasurer and employees. At the same time, there are a few differences in terms of the type of structure, key priorities and management structure. Indeed, three of the four initiatives evaluated aim to reach out to local residents and to understand the benefits of having agricultural spaces in our cities and to recreate this link with nature, unlike the economic initiative, which focuses more on business and commerce and less on social and educational inclusion.
Mycotoxins are amongst the most prevalent food contaminants leading to serious health implications for humans and animals. Limiting exposure to them within the population remains a pressing food safety challenge. Prevention and timely detection are crucial for minimising mycotoxin contamination in food and feed. Therefore easy-to-use, rapid, eco-friendly and low-cost screening methods are increasingly implemented. Early-stage end-user engagement in the technological development process aids and guides the research towards increased societal impact. To investigate these end-user needs, the limitations of the currently used methods and the expectations towards a novel approach were mapped among stakeholders in a comprehensive survey. Stakeholders along the food supply chain (agricultural, food processing, retail, food safety and control, laboratories) were identified in five European countries and contacted. A total of 63 participants completed the survey, which was followed-up by an interview. The results of the survey revealed that different end-user groups have different priorities. Important limiting factors for agricultural, processing and retail stakeholders of the current methodologies include the complexity of sample preparation, high cost and time-to-results. Complementing the accredited laboratory tests with a pre-screening device would be especially interesting for agricultural producers (87.5% of the participants are interested) and food processors (80%), since there is an increasing demand for on-site detection of contamination. On the other hand, food control authorities and commercial laboratories indicated higher priority towards low quantification limits and multi-compound methods. The time to get the results was found to be more important than the testing cost (important aspect for 74.6 versus 66.7%). Overall, the findings of this study are critical input for end-user-targeted development of novel mycotoxin detection platforms.
We evaluated the benefits of heat-stable carotenoid-producing Bacillus marisflavi SH8 spores individually and in combination with non-pigmented Bacillus subtilis SH23 spores on growth, colour change, nutritional content, innate immunity, and gut microbiota of white-leg shrimp. White-leg shrimp (Litopenaeus vannamei; n = 30 per tank; 2 tanks per group) were provided feed without (control group) or with SH8, SH23, or mixed spores (total, 1 × 106 cfu/g pellet) for 28 d. The SH8 and SH8-23 combination groups had significantly higher specific growth rates (9.6 and 11.0%), improved red-colour score (4 scores), astaxanthin concentration (1.8- and 2.3-fold), lipid contents (30 and 50%), and superoxidase dismutase activity (8.5 and 12.3%) than that of the control group. Analysis of shrimp’s gut microbiome using 16S rRNA metagenome sequencing revealed increased abundance of four useful species and reduced abundance of four harmful species in the combination group than in the control group. Heat-stable Bacillus spore combination improved growth parameters, nutrient content, red-colour score, live counts, and abundance of useful bacteria in the gut of L. vannamei. This is the first study to show the benefits of combining highly heat-stable pigmented and non-pigmented Bacillus spores and their possible mechanisms in a shrimp model.