Topical Collection "Insects as Animal Feed: a New Promising Sector"

A topical collection in Animals (ISSN 2076-2615). This collection belongs to the section "Animal Nutrition".

Editor

Prof. Dr. Laura Gasco
Website
Collection Editor
Department of Agricultural, Forest and Food Sciences (DISAFA), University of Turin, Turin, Italy
Interests: aquaculture; rabbit and poultry breeding; alternative protein sources; insects as feed; fish, rabbit and poultry nutrition; animal product quality
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Topical Collection Information

Dear Colleagues,

With the increasing world population expected by 2050, and the shift towards the consumption of more animal products, the quest for alternative and sustainable nutrient sources for animal feed is of paramount importance.

Over the last few years, it has been shown that insects could represent a valuable solution: They are rich in nutrients (proteins, fat, and energy) but also contain interesting biocompounds (chitin, antimicrobial peptides, and fatty acids) able to stimulate the immune system or to modulate animal microbiota and, subsequently, to optimize animal growth and health.

Moreover, following the principle of Circular Economy, some insect species are able to be grown on low value organic substrates, leading to valuable products that find applications not only in feed but also in industry or biomedical fields.

Studies performed so far in livestock nutrition using insect-derived products show promising results, but as industry interest grows, further information is needed to fully assess the potential of these innovative ingredients. In particular, further research is needed on the complete nutritional value of insects (e.g., real insect protein content and digestibility values, vitamin and mineral contents), on how insect nutritional value can be manipulated through rearing systems and insect diets, on the effects on animal products’ quality, and consumer acceptance.

Original manuscripts that address any aspects of live insects, insect-based meals, fat or other derived products (chitin, antimicrobial peptides, etc.) in animal feed are welcome.

Topics of this Topical Collection on the importance of insects as feed therefore include:

  • Insect breeding on organic substrates
  • Biotic and abiotic factors affecting the growth of insects for feed purposes
  • Optimal inclusion levels in animal diets
  • Insect meal digestibility
  • Impact of insects on animal product quality
  • Effect of insect biocompounds on animal health and immune response
  • Consumer perception and acceptance of insects in animal feeds

Prof. Laura Gasco
Collection Editor

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Keywords

  • Live insects
  • Insect derived products
  • Alternative protein source
  • Animal feed
  • Insect meal digestibility
  • Meat quality
  • Carcass characteristics
  • Consumer perception
  • Insect rearing substrates

Published Papers (9 papers)

2020

Jump to: 2019

Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Partially Defatted Hermetia illucens Larva Meal in Diet of Eurasian Perch (Perca fluviatilis) Juveniles
Animals 2020, 10(10), 1876; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10101876 - 14 Oct 2020
Abstract
Insect meal is gaining increased attention in aquafeed formulations due to high protein content and an essential amino acid profile similar to that of fishmeal. To investigate insect meal in feed for European perch Perca fluviatilis, a promising candidate for European intensive [...] Read more.
Insect meal is gaining increased attention in aquafeed formulations due to high protein content and an essential amino acid profile similar to that of fishmeal. To investigate insect meal in feed for European perch Perca fluviatilis, a promising candidate for European intensive culture, we replaced standard fishmeal with partially defatted black soldier fly Hermetia illucens larva meal at rates of 0%, 20%, 40% and 60% (groups CON, H20, H40 and H60, respectively) and compared growth performance, somatic indices, hematological parameters, whole-body proximate composition and occurrence of spleen lipidosis. In addition, we assessed the economic and environmental sustainability of the tested feeds by calculating economic conversion ratio (ECR) and economic profit index (EPI). The tested groups did not differ in survival rate. Significant differences were documented in final body weight and specific growth rate, with the highest values in CON, H20 and H40. The proximate composition of fish whole-body at the end of the experiment did not differ in dry matter, crude protein or ether extract, while organic matter, ash and gross energy composition showed significant differences. The fatty acid content and n-3/n-6 ratio showed a decreasing trend with increasing H. illucens larva meal inclusion. No differences were found in hematological parameters among tested groups. The H. illucens larva meal inclusion significantly affected ECR and EPI, even at 20% inclusion level the cost of diets did not differ from the control fish meal based diet. Results suggested that 40% inclusion of H. illucens larva meal can be used successfully in standard diets for perch. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Improvement of Cecal Commensal Microbiome Following the Insect Additive into Chicken Diet
Animals 2020, 10(4), 577; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10040577 - 30 Mar 2020
Cited by 5
Abstract
Gastrointestinal microbiota play an important role in regulating the metabolic processes of animals and humans. A properly balanced cecal microbiota modulates growth parameters and the risk of infections. The study examined the effect of the addition of 0.2% and 0.3% of Tenebrio molitor [...] Read more.
Gastrointestinal microbiota play an important role in regulating the metabolic processes of animals and humans. A properly balanced cecal microbiota modulates growth parameters and the risk of infections. The study examined the effect of the addition of 0.2% and 0.3% of Tenebrio molitor and Zophobas morio on cecal microbiome of broilers. The material was the cecum digesta. The obtained DNA was analyzed using 16S rRNA next generation sequencing. The results of the study show that the addition of a relatively small amount of Z. morio and T. molitor modulates the broiler cecum microbiome composition. The most positive effect on cecal microbiota was recorded in the 0.2% Z. morio diet. A significant increase in the relative amount of genus Lactobacillus, represented by the species Lactobacillus agilis and the amount of bacteria in the Clostridia class, was observed. Moreover, the addition of 0.2% ZM resulted in a significant increase of relative abundance of the family Bifidobacteriaceae with the highest relative abundance of genus Bifidobacterium pseudolongum. The obtained results indicate that the addition of a relatively small amount of insect meal in broiler diet stimulates colonization by probiotic and commensal bacteria, which may act as barriers against infection by pathogenic bacteria. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Partially Defatted Tenebrio molitor Larva Meal in Diets for Grow-Out Rainbow Trout, Oncorhynchus mykiss (Walbaum): Effects on Growth Performance, Diet Digestibility and Metabolic Responses
Animals 2020, 10(2), 229; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10020229 - 31 Jan 2020
Cited by 5
Abstract
Insect meals are good candidates to replace fishmeal as new protein sources in aquafeeds. This study evaluated the effects of fishmeal replacement with different dietary inclusion levels of a partially defatted Tenebrio molitor (L.) larva meal (TM) on rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss [...] Read more.
Insect meals are good candidates to replace fishmeal as new protein sources in aquafeeds. This study evaluated the effects of fishmeal replacement with different dietary inclusion levels of a partially defatted Tenebrio molitor (L.) larva meal (TM) on rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss Walbaum) growth, diet digestibility, and hepatic intermediary metabolism. A 154-day growth trial was performed with 252 rainbow trout (78.3 ± 6.24 g) randomly divided into twelve tanks and fed four experimental diets containing increasing levels of TM: 0% (TM0), 25% (TM25), 50% (TM50), and 100% (TM100) of fishmeal substitution, corresponding to TM dietary inclusion levels of 0%, 5%, 10%, and 20%, respectively. A digestibility trial was performed feeding 180 rainbow trout (94.6 ± 7.31 g) with the experimental diets used in the growth trial. The growth parameters were not affected by TM dietary inclusion. Regarding the evaluated apparent digestibility coefficients (ADC), only the ADC of crude protein was affected, showing the following trend: TM0 = TM25 > TM50 > TM100. The activities of key hepatic amino acid catabolic and lipogenic enzymes were not affected by the dietary composition. The results suggest that a partially defatted TM could totally replace fishmeal in commercial rainbow trout diets without negative effects on fish performance. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Evaluation of Yellow Mealworm Meal as a Protein Feedstuff in the Diet of Broiler Chicks
Animals 2020, 10(2), 224; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10020224 - 30 Jan 2020
Cited by 5
Abstract
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 [...] Read more.
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. Full article
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Could Dietary Black Soldier Fly Meal Inclusion Affect the Liver and Intestinal Histological Traits and the Oxidative Stress Biomarkers of Siberian Sturgeon (Acipenser baerii) Juveniles?
Animals 2020, 10(1), 155; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10010155 - 16 Jan 2020
Cited by 5
Abstract
The trial investigates if a highly defatted Hermetia illucens larva meal (H) at two dietary inclusion levels and a vegetable protein based diet (VEG) influences the normal gut and liver histology and the oxidative stress biomarkers in liver and kidney of Siberian sturgeon [...] Read more.
The trial investigates if a highly defatted Hermetia illucens larva meal (H) at two dietary inclusion levels and a vegetable protein based diet (VEG) influences the normal gut and liver histology and the oxidative stress biomarkers in liver and kidney of Siberian sturgeon juveniles. Fish were fed four diets: one control diet (H0) containing 70% of fishmeal (FM), two diets including 18.5% (H185) and 37.5% (H375) of highly defatted H in substitution for 25% and 50% of FM, and one vegetable protein based diet (VEG). At the end of a growth trial, 12 fish per treatment were sacrificed by over-anaesthesia to collect 12 liver and 5 distal intestine samples for histological analyses, as well as 12 liver and kidney samples for biochemical analyses. The H and VEG diets did not significantly affect the histology of liver and distal intestine, but alterations of the oxidative stress biomarkers were detected at the highest inclusion level of H (37.5%). In order to avoid unfavorable effects on the fish health, an inclusion level up to 18.5% of H is recommended for Siberian sturgeon juveniles. Full article
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2019

Jump to: 2020

Open AccessArticle
Tenebrio molitor and Zophobas morio Full-Fat Meals in Broiler Chicken Diets: Effects on Nutrients Digestibility, Digestive Enzyme Activities, and Cecal Microbiome
Animals 2019, 9(12), 1128; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9121128 - 12 Dec 2019
Cited by 6
Abstract
This study was conducted to investigate the effect of insect full-fat meals added in relatively small amounts to a complete diet on the coefficients of apparent ileal digestibility, short-chain fatty acid (SCFA) concentrations, bacterial enzymes, and the microbiota community in the cecal digesta [...] Read more.
This study was conducted to investigate the effect of insect full-fat meals added in relatively small amounts to a complete diet on the coefficients of apparent ileal digestibility, short-chain fatty acid (SCFA) concentrations, bacterial enzymes, and the microbiota community in the cecal digesta of broiler chickens. In total, 600 one-day-old female Ross 308 broiler chicks were randomly assigned to six dietary treatments with 10 replicate pens/treatment and 10 birds/pen. The groups consisted of a negative control (NC) with no additives; a positive control (PC; salinomycin 60 ppm), and supplementation with 0.2% or 0.3% Tenebrio molitor or Zophobas morio full-fat meals. Z. morio (0.2%) addition increased the activities of α- and β-glucosidase and α-galactosidase. Dietary insects significantly decreased the cecal counts of the Bacteroides–Prevotella cluster in comparison to those in the NC and PC. Whereas, Clostridium perfringens counts were increased in the broiler chickens subjected to the 0.3% Z. morio treatment. In conclusion, small amounts of full-fat insect meals added to broiler diets were capable of reducing the abundance of potentially pathogenic bacteria, such as the Bacteroides–Prevotella cluster and Clostridium perfringens. In addition, this supplementation was able to stimulate the GIT microbiome to produce enzymes, especially glycolytic enzymes. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Effect of Dietary Replacement of Fishmeal by Insect Meal on Growth Performance, Blood Profiles and Economics of Growing Pigs in Kenya
Animals 2019, 9(10), 705; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9100705 - 20 Sep 2019
Cited by 6
Abstract
Pig production is one of the fastest growing livestock sectors. Development of this sector is hampered by rapidly increasing costs of fishmeal (FM), which is a common protein source in animal feeds. Here, we explored the potential of substituting FM with black soldier [...] Read more.
Pig production is one of the fastest growing livestock sectors. Development of this sector is hampered by rapidly increasing costs of fishmeal (FM), which is a common protein source in animal feeds. Here, we explored the potential of substituting FM with black soldier fly larval meal (BSFLM) on growth and blood parameters of pigs as well as economic aspects. At weaning, 40 hybrid pigs, i.e., crossbreeds of purebred Large White and Landrace were randomly assigned to five iso-nitrogenous and iso-energetic dietary treatments: Control (0% BSFLM and 100% FM (T0)), and FM replaced at 25% (T25), 50% (T50), 75% (T75) and 100% (T100) with BSFLM. Average daily feed intake (ADFI), average daily gain (ADG), body weight gain (BWG) and feed conversion ratio (FCR) were calculated for the whole trial. Hematological and serum biochemical parameters, the cost–benefit ratio (CBR) and return on investment (RoI) were evaluated. No significant effect of diet type was observed on feed intake and daily weight gain. Red or white blood cell indices did not differ among diets. Pigs fed T25, T75 and T100, had lower platelet counts compared to T0 and T50. Dietary inclusion of BSFLM did not affect blood total cholesterol, triglycerides, low-density lipoprotein and high-density lipoprotein. CBR and RoI were similar for the various diets. In conclusion, BSFLM is a suitable and cost-effective alternative to fishmeal in feed for growing pigs. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Quality and Consumer Acceptance of Meat from Rabbits Fed Diets in Which Soybean Oil is Replaced with Black Soldier Fly and Yellow Mealworm Fats
Animals 2019, 9(9), 629; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9090629 - 29 Aug 2019
Cited by 6
Abstract
This trial investigated the effect of the dietary inclusion of Hermetia illucens (H) and Tenebrio molitor (T) fats as alternative lipid sources for growing rabbits, and assessed the carcass characteristics; proximate composition; lipid peroxidation, and fatty acid profile of the meat, as well [...] Read more.
This trial investigated the effect of the dietary inclusion of Hermetia illucens (H) and Tenebrio molitor (T) fats as alternative lipid sources for growing rabbits, and assessed the carcass characteristics; proximate composition; lipid peroxidation, and fatty acid profile of the meat, as well as consumer acceptance. At weaning, 200 crossbred rabbits (1051 ± 138 g initial body weight) were allotted to five isolipidic (4% dry matter (DM)) dietary treatments: a control diet (C) containing 1.5% of soybean oil, and four experimental diets in which soybean oil was partially (50%) or totally (100%) substituted by H (H50 and H100) or T (T50 and T100) fats. The carcass characteristics, the meat quality traits, and the consumer acceptance of the cooked meat were not affected. The fat content of Longissimus thoracis et lumborum muscle of the rabbits was 1.1% on average. In the case of rabbit fed the H diets (average of diets H50 and H100), the same muscles revealed a higher saturated fatty acid proportion (47.1% vs. 39.7% and 40.8%, respectively) and a lower polyunsaturated fatty acid proportion than the rabbits fed the C and T diets (average of diets T50 and T100) (26.5% vs. 31.7% and 29.7%) (p < 0.001). The meat of the rabbits fed the diets containing insect fat (average for H and T diets) was less susceptible to oxidation (0.24 vs. 0.39 mg malondialdehyde/kg meat in the C group; p < 0.01). Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Hermetia illucens Larvae Reared on Different Substrates in Broiler Quail Diets: Effect on Physicochemical and Sensory Quality of the Quail Meat
Animals 2019, 9(8), 525; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9080525 - 02 Aug 2019
Cited by 8
Abstract
This research aimed at improving the fatty acid (FA) profile of Hermetia illucens larvae (HI) and evaluating the effects of their inclusion in growing broiler quails’ diets on the meat physicochemical quality, including detailed amino acid (AA) and FA profiles, sensory traits, and [...] Read more.
This research aimed at improving the fatty acid (FA) profile of Hermetia illucens larvae (HI) and evaluating the effects of their inclusion in growing broiler quails’ diets on the meat physicochemical quality, including detailed amino acid (AA) and FA profiles, sensory traits, and retail display. HI larvae were reared on two different substrates: layer mash (HI1) and 50:50 layer mash/fish offal (HI2). A total of 300 10-day-old quails were allocated to the three dietary groups (five replicates/each): a soybean meal-based diet was formulated (Control), and two other diets were formulated that included either 10% HI1 or HI2. Quails were fed the experimental diets until slaughter. Diets were formulated to be isonitrogenous and isoenergetic. Breast meat quality was affected by the dietary treatments, which displayed different proximate compositions and AA and FA profiles. Meat physical quality, sensory profile, and retail display remained unaffected for the most part. Overall, results showed that it is possible to improve the FA profile of the HI-fed quails’ meat and thus lipid quality through substrate modulation of the HI’s diet. Full article
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