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Open AccessArticle

Evaluation of Yellow Mealworm Meal as a Protein Feedstuff in the Diet of Broiler Chicks

Key Laboratory of Feed Biotechnology, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, National Engineering Research Center of Biological Feed, Feed Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Beijing 100081, China
DSM (China) Animal Nutrition Center, Bazhou 065700, China
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Animals 2020, 10(2), 224;
Received: 31 December 2019 / Revised: 28 January 2020 / Accepted: 28 January 2020 / Published: 30 January 2020
(This article belongs to the Collection Insects as Animal Feed: a New Promising Sector)
Poultry meat is considered to be an available and inexpensive protein source for humans. Poultry meat acceptability always depends on meat quality. As resources decrease, new protein sources are introduced to the market. Thus, insect meal has emerged as an alternative feed source for poultry diets. Insect meal achieved its status in the market due to providing superior meat quality. In this study, we explored the inclusion of dried and fresh yellow mealworm meal in poultry diets. Yellow mealworm meal is acceptable as a protein feedstuff in the broiler diet without any adverse effects on chicks’ performance, and resulted in improved and comparable meat quality.
Yellow mealworm meal (MWM) as a protein feedstuff in the broiler diet was investigated based on the growth performance, hematological characteristics, carcass, and meat quality of broiler chicks. A total of 700 one-day-old Ross 308 male broiler chicks were assigned to five dietary MWM treatments containing 0%, 2%, 4%, and 8% dried MWM or 10.48% fresh mealworm (corresponding to 4% dried MWM). For each treatment, there were seven pens with 20 chicks each. The nutritional profile of dried MWM is comparable to all conventional protein feedstuffs. MWM significantly increased BW and ADG (linear and quadratic, p < 0.05), and FCR was best at 4% MWM inclusion level (quadratic, p < 0.10) for broiler chicks during the starter phase. The predicted MWM levels for optimal starter BW and ADG were 4.13% and 3.84%. Hematological characteristics of broiler chicks fed on the MWM diet did not differ or showed small change within the physiological range. A fresh 10.48% mealworm diet significantly reduced the blood LZM for the grower. Broiler Chicks fed on fresh 10.48% mealworm had a significantly reduced abdominal fat percentage compared to the 4% dried MWM counterparts. MWM did not significantly affect meat quality. Taken together, MWM inclusion in broiler diet is acceptable as a protein feedstuff, and a 4% level could stimulate early growth in the starter phase. View Full-Text
Keywords: Tenebrio molitor; insect meal; mealworm; broiler; meat quality Tenebrio molitor; insect meal; mealworm; broiler; meat quality
MDPI and ACS Style

Elahi, U.; Wang, J.; Ma, Y.-B.; Wu, S.-G.; Wu, J.; Qi, G.-H.; Zhang, H.-J. Evaluation of Yellow Mealworm Meal as a Protein Feedstuff in the Diet of Broiler Chicks. Animals 2020, 10, 224.

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