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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

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

Abstract

The growing world population raises concerns about food security, with increasing demand for animal protein often impacting scarce resources like land, water and energy. Edible insects have been proposed as an alternative protein source to address this issue. The study aimed to compare acceptance of insects as food and its association with food neophobia among young adults in Malaysia and Japan. A cross-sectional study was conducted among 1954 subjects, comprising 1,071 Malaysians and 883 Japanese young adults. Subjects completed an online questionnaire on sociodemography, Food Neophobia Scale, and acceptance of insects as food. Chi-square, Wilcoxon signed rank post-hoc and Mann-Whitney U tests were used for statistical analysis. Only 9.2% were willing to eat insects as food and 6.5% were ready to adopt eating insects in daily life. A higher proportion of Malaysians (10.5%) was willing to accept insects as food than Japanese (7.6%, P = 0.024 ). However, Japanese (9.5%) were more ready to adopt eating insects in daily life than Malaysians (3.9%, P < 0.001 ). Most subjects in both countries were in the neutral category of food neophobia, with no significant difference between countries. In Malaysia, the main reason for willingness to eat insects was food safety (11.5%), while in Japan it was caloric and nutritional value (17.8%). The main reason for unwillingness to eat insects in both countries was appearance (Malaysia: 17.1%; Japan: 27.9%). There was a significant association ( P < 0.001 ) between the acceptance of insects as food and the category of food neophobia, with lower acceptance associated with higher neophobia or vice versa. In conclusion, the acceptance of insects as food is low among young adults in Malaysia and Japan. A strategic marketing approach tailored to the reasons for acceptance could effectively promote entomophagy in both countries. Further studies should focus on transforming insects into more palatable forms.

In: Journal of Insects as Food and Feed

Abstract

The present work aimed to evaluate protein and amino acid (AA) digestibility/solubility of different black soldier fly larvae (BSFL) based meals for Atlantic salmon in vivo and in vitro. Three types of insect meals that had been through different processing techniques were included: microwave full fat BSFL meal (BSFM), defatted BSFL meal with an enzymatic pre-treatment (BSFE) and a defatted BSFL meal without enzymatic pre-treatment (BSFH). For the in vivo digestibility studies only two ingredients (BSFE and BSFH) were used. The experimental diets for the different ingredients were prepared by mixing a control diet with BSFL meals at an 80:20 ratio. The in vitro method implied a two-stage hydrolysis involving both gastric simulation (acid hydrolysis) and gastrointestinal simulation (acid hydrolysis followed by alkaline hydrolysis), using enzymes extracted from salmon. The results showed that the AA solubility was higher in the gastrointestinal phases than the gastric phase alone, showing the importance of having both phases in vitro solubility for an effective protein breakdown. The AA solubility of different insect-based meals showed that neither partial defatting nor the addition of enzymatic treatment impacted the protein and AA solubility. The in vivo trial (56 days) recorded no differences between fish fed diets containing BSFE and BSFH for growth or body indices. The protein and AA apparent digestibility were similar for both BSFE and BSFH ingredients. Thus, in the current study no differences in nutrient digestibility were observed due to different processing methods employed to BSFL meal both in vivo and in vitro.

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

Abstract

The mediterranean flour moth (Ephestia kuehniella Zeller (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae), is a common pest species in mealworm farms as they thrive in a similar environment and on similar feedstock as the mealworm. Although the larvae of the moth do not directly affect the mealworm larvae, they do compete for feed. Furthermore, the webbing may cause technical issues when harvesting or processing the mealworm larvae. Yet, most of the known ways to eradicate the moths are not usable in a mealworm farm due to the harmful effects on the mealworms. In this study, the potential of Bacillus thuringiensis var. kurstaki (Btk) was assessed as these bacteria produce toxins that are specific to the order of Lepidoptera and therefore should not harm mealworms (Order: Coleoptera). Two experiments were conducted to assess the effect of Btk on E. kuehniella, mealworm (Tenebrio molitor) and a combination of both species in conditions similar to these encountered in a mealworm farm. The use of 10 (experiment 1) or 12 (experiment 2) concentrations allowed us to assess a broad concentration range (0-250/1000 ppm) and determine the 50% lethal concentration (LC50). The results indicate that Btk, within the assessed range (up to 1000 ppm), had minimal effect on the mealworm larvae, especially the final yield per cup. Nevertheless, further research is needed to determine any impact on the smaller life stages or any sublethal effects. As expected, the meal moths were negatively affected by Btk with a LC50 between 48 ppm and 332 ppm. Based on these results, the use of Btk in mealworm farms to combat meal moth seems promising. Further research is needed to finetune the application and concentration of Btk ensuring minimal use while maintaining effectiveness.

Open Access
In: Journal of Insects as Food and Feed

Abstract

The aim of this study was to evaluate the apparent digestibility coefficients (ADCs) of four batches of black soldier fly (BSF) meal, named BSF1, BSF2, BSF3 and BSF3, produced by the same company over one year, in rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss). To assess nutrients and amino acids ADCs, each insect meal was mixed with a high-quality reference diet in a 30:70 ratio on as is basis, including celite as inert marker, and pelleted. The reference diet was also used as control. The ADCs were calculated based on the data collected and determined during an in vivo experiment. A total of 240 fish were randomly divided into 250-L cylindroconical tanks supplied in flow-through open and Choubert systems (3 replicates/treatment). Data were analysed by One-Way ANOVA (SPSS V20.0.0.; P 0.05 ). Globally, the four BSF meals showed a high ADC value, between 82.6 and 100%. No statistically significant differences were observed in the ADCs of dry matter, crude protein, ether extract and gross energy, while some differences were observed in the amino acid profile ( P < 0.05 ). Generally, fish fed on BSF1 displayed reduced digestibility for histidine, isoleucine, leucine, valine, alanine, proline, and glycine compared to BSF2 and BSF4 meals ( P < 0.05 ), while the BSF3 group showed intermediate results ( P > 0.05 ). Despite the good digestibility of nutrients for all the insect mealsthe implementation of standardized production is important to have a standardize BSF meal capable of meeting market demands.

Open Access
In: Journal of Insects as Food and Feed

Abstract

This editorial advocate for the use of edible insects as a viable solution to concerns about food security and sustainability. Despite their nutritional benefits, insects are relegated to novelty snacks due to cultural aversion and a lack of familiar food formats. If a shift in consumer perceptions is to be achieved, both education on insect nutrition and the promotion of appealing insect-based dishes through culinary innovation are required. Furthermore, establishing clear regulations for insect farming and processing is crucial for building trust among consumers. The editorial emphasizes collaboration between researchers, policymakers, and the food industry to ensure edible insects become a more accepted and sustainable choice for dinner.

Free access
In: Journal of Insects as Food and Feed