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Abstract

In recent years, various studies have investigated the growth of the larval stage of the black soldier fly (BSF). Nevertheless, the biology and reproductive behaviors of the adult is still largely unknown. Expanding the understanding of this area of research will assist the optimization of breeding-systems of BSF. In this present study, the mating behavior of BSF adults under summer sunlight conditions was evaluated. The number of couplings were evaluated based on a variety of environmental parameters that may have affected the copula: temperature (°C), humidity (RH) and light intensity (lux). 1000 g of pupae were put inside a cage to obtain one hundred adults to put in each three experimental units. Each specimen was then marked with an individual code in the dorsal portion of the thorax using fine-tipped acrylic markers and for each fly the body length parameters were taken. Individuals of interest were subsequently marked; in the first experiment only females, in the second only male, and in the third both sexes. During the trials observations were carried out from 9.30 am to 5.30 pm. During this time the key behaviors evaluated are as follows: mating, mating failure, struggles, deposition, failure to lay eggs, and multiple mating. The rate recorded in the Male and Female trials was 16.5%, but the peak of copulas changed with the trials. Mating events demonstrated strong positive correlation between light intensity (0.73) and humidity (0.64), whereas a negative correlation was seen between temperature and matings (−0.59). A weakly negative correlation was seen between deposition number and light intensity (−0.34) and humidity (−0.41), while positively correlated with the temperature (0.47). Multiple mating events were seen 2 times for females and up to 4 times for male.

In: Journal of Insects as Food and Feed

Abstract

Insects are part of the natural diet of fish and poultry species and to a lesser extent of pigs, dogs and cats. In traditional farming, poultry gather their food in a free roaming manner, and insects are part of the diet. Similarly, a large fraction of the diet of freshwater fish consists of aquatic insects. These features are exploited by farmers all over the world, as feed costs are high. For example, farmers lure termites to baskets filled with organic matter, and the insects are then fed to chickens. They also employ light sources above fishponds to attract insects for their fish. More sophisticated methods are, for example, attracting naturally occurring houseflies to containers filled with organic waste, e.g. manure. The captured maggots or pupae are then fed to poultry. We discuss the following insect groups as feeds for poultry, pigs, fish, dogs and cats: bees, caterpillars, cockroaches, flies, grasshoppers and termites. Feed for poultry can also consist of insect pests, which are then controlled at the same time, for example ducks to control rice pests. Moreover, leftovers from the silk industry can be used to feed chickens, pigs and fish. Insects are also commonly used as bait for fishing. The interest in a more industrial production of insects such as the black soldier fly and housefly as animal feed started in the 1970s. In the last 15 years, large-scale rearing of insects for animal feed has taken off, with the industry receiving more than 1.5 billion dollars in investment. The market is expanding, the legislation is becoming more conducive, while academic interest is increasing exponentially. The environmental, nutritional and functional benefits of insects as feed are becoming more and more recognized. Insects are poised to play an increasingly prominent role in shaping the future of animal feed production.

Open Access
In: Journal of Insects as Food and Feed

Abstract

The use of insects as’ food and feed’ is rapidly increasing due to global population growth and rising food demands. Over the past few decades, this immediate popularity of edible insects has led to a substantial upsurge in research publications on edible insects. The present study aimed to bibliographically analyze the status of work done on edible insects throughout India and provide its comprehensive review. Articles published from 1945 to December 2023 were retrieved from Scopus and non-Scopus databases using web search engines like Google Scholar and PubMed using keywords such as ‘entomophagy,’ ‘food insects,’ and ‘edible insects.’ These were then analyzed based on publication category, leading authors and publishers, active states, and journals. Between 1945 and 2023, 219 articles on entomophagy in India were published by Indian authors. This analysis highlights the historical inclusion of insects in Indian diets, particularly among ethnic communities in the North-East Region (NER), and identifies key researchers advancing this field. The findings indicate that India has the potential to become a hub for insect supplement manufacturing. Current research shows a unidirectional focus, emphasizing the need for greater collaboration among Indian researchers to drive further progress. This study serves as a pioneering effort in performing a bibliographic analysis of publications on edible insects in India and assessing the progress this practice has made in terms of consumer acceptance and its future development as a promising food resource.

In: Journal of Insects as Food and Feed

Abstract

Feed costs represent up to 60-70% of the total cost of poultry production, with protein sources being the most expensive feed component. Black soldier fly larvae meal (BSFLM) shows promise as a sustainable protein source for use in animal diets. This research was conducted to determine the effects of including up to 13% defatted BSFLM and a supplementary protease-based enzyme (Concentrase-P; CBS Bio Platforms, Inc., Calgary AB, Canada) on laying hen performance and egg quality. To test this objective, 180 Lohmann Brown-Lite hens (52 weeks of age) were fed experimental diets containing 0%, 6.5%, or 13% BSFLM, with or without Concentrase-P (3 × 2 factorial arrangement of treatments). The treatments were fed over 20 weeks. Results indicated reduced feed intake and body weight in laying hens fed a 13% dietary inclusion level of BSFLM ( P < 0.05 ), while other performance traits (egg production and FCR) were similar among treatments ( P > 0.05 ) and met industry performance standards. Shell weight and egg breaking strength did not significantly change with the dietary inclusion level of BSFLM or enzyme inclusion ( P > 0.05 ), although a significant decrease in egg weight and albumen height was noted ( P < 0.05 ), as well as a significant decrease in albumen height for the Concentrase-P treatments ( P < 0.05 ). Yolk colours were significantly lighter and redder in birds fed diets containing high levels of BSFLM ( P < 0.05 ). Results support the use of BSFLM at dietary inclusion levels up to 13% in laying hen diets. Concentrase-P does not appear to be required in combination with BSFLM in terms of growth and laying performance, although potential benefits to other physiological factors are worth consideration.

In: Journal of Insects as Food and Feed

Abstract

The effect of substituting Hermetia illucens (HI) meal for fish meal (FM) on the growth performance, survival rate, feed utilization, digestive enzyme activity, immunological function, and flesh quality of Clarias magur (average weight = 3.3 ± 0.05 g) is investigated in this work. Four iso-nitrogenous diets with 35% crude protein were formulated, each with varying levels of HI substitution: HI25%, HI50%, HI75%, and HI100%, then compared to a control diet (HI0%). Following a 90-day experiment, it was observed that the growth performance and feed efficiency were significantly improved at the 50% level ( P < 0.05 ). However, the control group exhibited greater levels of digestive enzymes, specifically protease and lipase activity. The fish’s health status remained unaffected by the substitution of fishmeal, while the 50% HI group showed significant improvements. The high levels of the antioxidant enzymes SOD and CAT, as well as the metabolic product MDA, suggested enhanced antioxidant activity in the groups that received HI inclusion. However, as the substitution level reached 100%, the quality of the flesh decreased, as indicated by increased lipid and adhesiveness, as well as decreased L* and WI ( P < 0.05 ). The findings of the study suggest that HI larvae can replace FM in diet of C. magur. Overall, at 50% level of HI larvae meal inclusion in diet, better growth and immune function was evident, but it does lead to a decrease in flesh quality. This study enhances the existing knowledge on substituting fish meal with insect meal in catfish that are of regional importance. Additionally, it emphasizes the necessity for additional investigation to examine the underlying mechanisms employing biotechnological approaches.

In: Journal of Insects as Food and Feed

Abstract

The biological valorisation of edible insects is an eco-saving approach that may increase their use for food and feeding purposes. Beetles of T. molitor are a direct waste of insect farms since their protein have a low digestibility. Currently, the degree of hydrolysis achieved with biological treatments are much lower than with chemical treatments. This work focused on the enzymatic hydrolysis of protein from T. molitor beetles using proteases. The obtained protein hydrolysate was evaluated regarding the digestibility and functional properties. Higher hydrolysis degree (HD; 47%) was obtained using a protease from Aspergillus oryzae, which efficiently separated protein from chitin. A full factorial design determined that a liquid:solid ratio (LSR) of 15 and an enzyme load of 3200 U/g increase HD up to 78%. The protein hydrolysate showed higher digestibility (77.3%) compared to beetles’ meal before (17.8%) and after defatting (25.7%). The protein hydrolysate showed a high antioxidant activity (462.1 ± 7.48 μmol TE/g DW), it was highly soluble at pH ranging between 3 and 9 and showed an emulsification activity and stability of 53.6% and 82.2%, respectively. Therefore, this bioprocess improved the use of beetles, obtaining protein with greater digestibility to be used as food.

In: Journal of Insects as Food and Feed

Abstract

The transport of live insects is becoming increasingly common within the food and feed industry. However, very little information is available as to its effects on the insects themselves. The aim of this study was to monitor how variation in transport conditions, such as duration of transport and external temperature and humidity, directly and indirectly affect the survival and growth of nymphs of the house cricket, Acheta domesticus. In addition, we investigated the effect of external temperature on the viability of eggs upon completion of a transport event. We investigated how four different temperatures (5 °C, 15 °C, 25 °C, 35 °C) and four possible transport durations (1, 2, 3, 6 days) affected survival and growth of the cricket nymphs. To gain insight into the potential transport of eggs, its effect on egg hatch-rate was studied by storing eggs at three different temperatures (6 °C, 18 °C and 30 °C) before moving the eggs to optimal hatching conditions. We found that humidity remained constant inside the transport boxes and was different from the exterior humidity. Temperature had a significant effect on nymph survival and growth. The extreme temperatures negatively affected nymph survival, and increased temperature was correlated with increased growth. The development of eggs was also sensitive to temperature, and transport of eggs at suboptimal temperatures prolonged incubation time considerably. Finally, based on the results of this study, we discuss temperature optimisation as the most critical factor to consider during transport of live house cricket nymphs and eggs.

Open Access
In: Journal of Insects as Food and Feed
Authors: and

Abstract

Edible insects have gained increasing interest in circular economy research due to their potential as sustainable alternative protein sources and waste managers, which can initiate circular systems; however, challenges exist to closing the loops of insect supply chains, leading to a broader failure to attain sustainable development goals (SDGs). The potential of 3D food printing (3DFP) aligns with circular economy principles; thus, it can be used to promote the development of a circular economy and contribute to the SDGs. As such, its efficiency should be further investigated, specifically in circular insect supply chains (CISCs), to fill a gap in the current literature. We present a narrative review of the extant research to understand how 3DFP can promote the CISCs and help achieve the SDGs. The findings are clearly articulated based on themes of the SDGs: people, prosperity, planet and partnership. Our results confirm that 3DFP promotes the CISCs and can contribute to achieving the SDGs as follows: people by enhancing food security (SDG 1, 2 and 3), prosperity by promoting economic growth (SDG 7, 8, 9, 11 and 12), planet by reducing environmental impacts (SDG 13) and partnership by fostering interdisciplinary collaborations (SDG 17). These findings offer researchers valuable insights that can shape potential development pathways and future research directions. Utilising the potential of 3DFP, stakeholders can drive sustainable development efforts.

In: Journal of Insects as Food and Feed
Authors: and

Abstract

Edible insects are gaining attention within the UK’s feed industry, driven by their environmental and nutritional advantages. However, the UK insect sector is still relatively new. Therefore, this study aims to explore the primary challenges and opportunities faced by insect farmers, insect-related businesses, and feed operators in the UK, with the goal of formulating strategic plans to foster the growth of the insect sector. Ten in-depth interviews from key stakeholders highlight the several benefits of insect-based feed including contributing to the circular economy, advancing value-added product development, and enhancing livestock welfare. Despite these advantages, obstacles like limited research, ambiguous regulations, production constraints, and public acceptance concerns hinder progress. The study recommends strategic solutions involving tailored regulations, financial incentives, industry collaboration, awareness campaigns, and research investments. Implementing these strategies holds the potential to nurture the expansion of UK’s insect farming industry, bolstering sustainable agri-food systems, resource efficiency, and environmental consciousness.

Open Access
In: Journal of Insects as Food and Feed

Abstract

House crickets (Acheta domesticus) and field crickets (Gryllus bimaculatus) are among the commonly reared insects for human and animal consumption. However, the potential contamination of rearing facilities with microbes poses a serious threat to sustainability of production of these insects, especially in poorer regions of the world where strategies for ensuring microbe-free environments are lacking in most cases. In this study, bacterial and fungal communities associated with cricket-rearing facility under partially controlled conditions were isolated and examined using morphological and molecular marker-based approaches. BLAST analysis of amplified 16S rRNA sequences revealed similarities to the bacterial genera Rickettsiella, Enterobacter, Bacillus, Levilactobacillus, and Aeromonas, while analysis of the ITS sequences revealed similarities to the fungi Pithomyces spp., Fusarium spp., Aspergillus spp. and Tetrapisispora spp. Increased mortality and reduced nutritional contents of crickets exposed to the bacterial and fungal microbes were evident. Of notable concern is the contamination of the crickets with spore-forming bacteria and toxin-forming bacteria as well as fungi. Although the levels of mycotoxin were relatively low compared to the threshold set by many countries in sub-Saharan Africa, the detection of aflatoxin in both species of crickets is of great concern as any dosage can pose serious health risks to consumers. Strategies to minimize contamination of crickets by entomopathogenic microbes are outlined, and future areas of research are suggested.

In: Journal of Insects as Food and Feed