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In 2017, a book was published entitled ‘Insects as food and feed: from production to consumption’ (Van Huis and Tomberlin, 2017). However, the sector of insects as food and feed is developing so quickly that an update seems appropriate. This book ‘Advancement of insects as food and feed in a circular economyy’ is a reprint of the Special Isse in Open Access in the Journal of Insects as Food and Feed. All chapters dealt with relevant topics related to insects as food and feed, and most of the content of the articles is different from the 2017 book, reflecting developments in the field.

Barley is a small-grain cereal that can be infected by Fusarium spp. resulting in reduced quality and safety of harvested barley (products). Barley and other small-grain cereals are commonly studied together for Fusarium infection and related mycotoxin contamination, since the infection and its influencing factors are assumed to be the same for all small-grain cereals. Using relevant literature, this study reviewed Fusarium spp. infection and mycotoxin contamination, mainly T-2/HT-2 toxin and deoxynivalenol (DON), in barley specifically. For the first time, review results provide an extensive overview of the influencing factors for Fusarium infection and mycotoxin production in barley, such as weather, agricultural management and processing factors, and includes the comparison of these mechanisms in wheat. Results showed that Fusarium infection in barley is difficult to recognise in the field and mycotoxin levels cannot be estimated based on the symptoms. These factors make it difficult to establish the real severity of Fusarium infection in barley. In addition, most pre-harvest measures to mitigate initial Fusarium infection, such as cultivar use and soil cultivation, are the same for barley and wheat, but due to anatomical differences, some pre-harvest measures have a different effect on Fusarium infection in barley. For example, the effective moment (days after anthesis) of fungicide application in barley and wheat is different. Also, in wheat, there is an additional effect of multiple fungicide applications in reducing Fusarium Head Blight and DON concentrations, whereas in barley, no additional effect of multiple application is seen. Hence, care should be taken to use data from one small-grain cereal to draw conclusions on other small-grain cereals.

Open Access
In: World Mycotoxin Journal

Insects are a promising future source of sustainable proteins within a circular economy. Proving the safety of insects for food and feed is necessary prior to supplying them to the market. This literature review provides a state-of-the-art overview of the chemical food safety hazards for insects reared for food and feed, focusing mainly on transfer of contaminants from the substrate. Contaminants covered are: heavy metals, dioxins and polychlorinated biphenyls, polyaromatic hydrocarbons, pesticides, veterinary drugs, mycotoxins, and plant toxins. The twelve insect species reported as having the largest potential as feed and food in the EU are included. Transfer and bioaccumulation of contaminants depend on the chemical, insect species, life stage, and source of contaminant (spiked vs natural), as well as the particular substrate and rearing conditions. The heavy metals lead, arsenic, mercury, and cadmium can accumulate, whereas mycotoxins and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) seem not to accumulate. Mycotoxins and veterinary drugs could be degraded by insects; their metabolic routes need to be further investigated. Data are generally limited, but in particular for PAHs, plant toxins, and dioxins and dioxin-like polychlorinated biphenyls. Further research on chemical safety of different edible insects is therefore warranted.

Open Access
In: Journal of Insects as Food and Feed

Black soldier fly (BSF,Hermetia illucens) larvae is considered one of the insect species with great potential for large-scale production as feed and food. For this to become economically feasible and to contribute to a circular economy, BSF larvae should be reared on substrates with little or no alternative use for feed and food production. One such class of alternative substrate sources consists of former food products. However, BSF larvae may accumulate chemical contaminants from the substrate, which may originate from the foodstuff and/or the packaging materials. This study aimed to investigate the possible presence of chemical contaminants in BSF larvae being reared on former foodstuff substrates at both laboratory and industrial scale. Four experimental treatments were set up: with meat or vegetarian, and containing between 3-6% of either plastic or paperboard carton packaging material. Four-day old BSF larvae were reared for seven days on these substrates. Concentrations of heavy metals, mineral oil hydrocarbons, dioxins and PCBs, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons were determined in the substrate, residual material, and the larvae. Results suggest that BSF larvae can be reared on former food products containing traces of packaging materials, without negative effects on their growth or survival. Bio-accumulation was observed for most of the tested contaminants, in particular for mineral oils and cadmium, which had a bio-accumulation rate of, respectively, about five and 20. However, none of the concentrations of the analysed contaminants in the substrate and the larvae exceeded the respective legal limits in the EU. Results of this pilot study were promising. As a next step, more different former food products should be investigated in future research.

Open Access
In: Journal of Insects as Food and Feed

Mycotoxins present a global food safety threat of our feed and food. Mycotoxins are toxic metabolites of certain fungi in agricultural products that are harmful to animal and human health. The presence of mycotoxins in these products depends on a variety of management and environmental factors in the field, during storage and/or processing of feed and food commodities. To date, information on mycotoxin management is available, but is not easy to access by supply chain actors. This study aimed to design, build and test a Decision Support System (DSS) that can help decision making on mycotoxin management by various actors along the feed and food supply chains. As part of this, available knowledge and data on mycotoxin prevention and control were collected and synthesised into easy to understand guidelines and tools for various groups of end-users. The DSS consists of four different modules: (a) static information module and (b) scenario analysis module, (c) dynamic module for forecasting mycotoxins, and (d) dynamic module for real-time monitoring of moulds/mycotoxins in grain silos. Intended end-users are all end-user groups for modules (a) and (b); growers and collectors for module (c) and; post-harvest storage managers for module (d). The DSS is user-friendly and accessible through PCs, tablets and smartphones (seehttps://mytoolbox-platform.com/). In various phases of the DSS development, the tool has been demonstrated to groups of end-users, and their suggestions have been taken into account, whenever possible. Also, a near final version has been tested with individual farmers on the easiness to use the system. In this way we aimed to maximise the DSS uptake by actors along the chain. Ultimately, this DSS will improve decision making on mycotoxin management; it will assist in reducing mycotoxin contamination in the key crops of Europe, thereby reducing economic losses and improving animal and human health.

Open Access
In: World Mycotoxin Journal