Special Issue "Insects: Alternative Protein Source for Animal Feed"

A special issue of Animals (ISSN 2076-2615). This special issue belongs to the section "Animal Nutrition".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (28 February 2019)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Dr. Laura Gasco

Department of Agricultural, Forest and Food Sciences (DISAFA), University of Turin, Largo Paolo Braccini 2, 10095 Grugliasco, Turin, Italy
Website | E-Mail
Interests: aquaculture; rabbit and poultry sciences; insects; fish and poultry nutrition

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

World population is expected to grow by over a third, reaching over 9 billion people in 2050. This will have as main consequence that the world will have to produce 70% more food. Livestock production (in particular that of poultry and swine) will have to grow rapidly if per capita intake is to be maintained. Therefore, a major concern is to guarantee the global capacity to provide enough animal feed (in particular protein ingredients), trying to avoid as much as possible competition with human food demand. For this purpose, insects have been proposed as a high quality, efficient and sustainable alternative protein source for poultry, fish or swine. Results are promising but as industry interest is growing further information is needed to fully assess the potential of these innovative raw materials.

Original manuscripts that address any aspects of insects as alternative protein source for animal feed are invited for this Special Issue. In particular, aspects such as optimal inclusion levels, insect meal digestibility, impact on product quality, animal health benefits, immune response, consumer perception and acceptance of insects in animal feeds are welcome.

Dr. Laura Gasco
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • insect meals
  • alternative protein source
  • animal feed
  • insect meal digestibility
  • meat quality
  • carcass characteristics
  • consumer perception

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle The Effect of Strain and Rearing Medium on the Chemical Composition, Fatty Acid Profile and Carotenoid Content in Silkworm (Bombyx mori) Pupae
Animals 2019, 9(3), 103; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9030103
Received: 7 February 2019 / Revised: 12 March 2019 / Accepted: 15 March 2019 / Published: 20 March 2019
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Abstract
The overexploitation of fishmeal and soy for the feedstuff industry has provided an opportunity to employ insects as an unconventional and more environmental friendly protein source. The evaluation of the nutritive properties of different insect species has consequently become a priority. The present [...] Read more.
The overexploitation of fishmeal and soy for the feedstuff industry has provided an opportunity to employ insects as an unconventional and more environmental friendly protein source. The evaluation of the nutritive properties of different insect species has consequently become a priority. The present study compares the pupal nutritive composition of two silkworm strains (White Cocoon Polyhybrid and Golden Yellow Cocoon Nistari) fed on two different rearing media (fresh mulberry leaves and a commercial artificial diet). Our results provide evidence that the composition of the feeding substrate strongly influences the fat and protein content of silkworm pupae. The two tested strains had higher fat and lower protein contents when fed with silkworm natural food (mulberry leaves) with respect to the commercial artificial diet. The analysis also showed that the n3/n6 ratio was affected almost exclusively by the feed substrate factor. On the contrary, the carotenoid content in pupae was specifically determined by the strain. The study identifies the interesting opportunity offered by silkworm pupae, which are usually a waste product of the silk-reeling process, to be used as alternative animal protein sources in a fully-closed circular production. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Insects: Alternative Protein Source for Animal Feed)
Open AccessArticle Evaluation of Black Soldier Fly (Hermetia illucens) Larvae and Pre-Pupae Raised on Household Organic Waste, as Potential Ingredients for Poultry Feed
Animals 2019, 9(3), 98; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9030098
Received: 26 February 2019 / Revised: 13 March 2019 / Accepted: 15 March 2019 / Published: 19 March 2019
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Abstract
Black soldier fly (BSF) larvae and pre-pupae could be satisfactorily raised on household organic waste and used as poultry feed, offering a potential sustainable way to recycle untapped resources of waste. The present study was conducted to determine if whole (non-defatted) BSF larvae [...] Read more.
Black soldier fly (BSF) larvae and pre-pupae could be satisfactorily raised on household organic waste and used as poultry feed, offering a potential sustainable way to recycle untapped resources of waste. The present study was conducted to determine if whole (non-defatted) BSF larvae and pre-pupae raised on experimental household waste could substitute soybean meal and oil as ingredients for laying hen diets. While no significant differences in feed intake and the egg-laying rate of hens were observed throughout the experiment, egg weight and eggshell thickness were greater in the pre-pupae-fed group than in the other groups. Moreover, although diversity of the cecal microbiota was significantly higher in the pre-pupae-fed than in the control group, no significant differences in bacterial genera known to cause food poisoning were observed when comparing the treatment groups. Nonetheless, Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium populations were significantly lower in the treatment than in the control group. Fat content in BSF was possibly related with the changes in the cecal microbiota. Hence, since BSF fat was deficient in essential fatty acids, special attention should be paid to the fat content and its fatty acid composition in the case of regular inclusion of BSF larvae and pre-pupae oil as an ingredient in poultry diets. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Insects: Alternative Protein Source for Animal Feed)
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Open AccessArticle Intestinal Morphometry, Enzymatic and Microbial Activity in Laying Hens Fed Different Levels of a Hermetia illucens Larvae Meal and Toxic Elements Content of the Insect Meal and Diets
Animals 2019, 9(3), 86; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9030086
Received: 11 February 2019 / Revised: 1 March 2019 / Accepted: 4 March 2019 / Published: 10 March 2019
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Abstract
To evaluate the effects of feeding a Hermetia illucens (HI) larvae meal on the different intestinal traits of hens, and to determine the toxic elements’ concentration in the insect meal and diets, 162 hens were randomly allotted to three groups. The control received [...] Read more.
To evaluate the effects of feeding a Hermetia illucens (HI) larvae meal on the different intestinal traits of hens, and to determine the toxic elements’ concentration in the insect meal and diets, 162 hens were randomly allotted to three groups. The control received a corn-soybean meal-based diet (SBM); the HI25 and HI50 groups received two diets in which the 25% and 50% of the dietary protein were replaced by the HI protein, respectively. The duodenal and jejunal villi height and villi/crypt were higher (p < 0.01) in the SBM than in the HI groups. The ileal villi height was higher (p < 0.05) in the SBM and HI25 groups than the HI50. The HI50 group exhibited a lower duodenal maltase activity. The intestinal alkaline phosphatase (IAP) activity linearly decreased in the duodenum and jejunum as the dietary insect meal inclusion increased. The HI50 group had a higher acetate and butyrate level than the SBM. The levels of cadmium (Cd), lead (Pb), mercury (Hg), and arsenic (As) in the diets and insect meal were lower than the maximum values established by the EU Commission. The 25% soybean protein replacement with Hermetia illucens larvae meal in the diet of laying hens was more suitable and closer to the optimal level than 50%. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Insects: Alternative Protein Source for Animal Feed)
Open AccessArticle Influence of Temperature on Selected Life-History Traits of Black Soldier Fly (Hermetia illucens) Reared on Two Common Urban Organic Waste Streams in Kenya
Animals 2019, 9(3), 79; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9030079
Received: 21 January 2019 / Revised: 25 February 2019 / Accepted: 26 February 2019 / Published: 2 March 2019
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Abstract
In sub-Saharan Africa, urban populations are projected to increase by 115% in the coming 15 years. In addition, economic growth and dietary shifts towards animal source foods have put high pressure and demand on agricultural production. The high ecological footprint of meat and [...] Read more.
In sub-Saharan Africa, urban populations are projected to increase by 115% in the coming 15 years. In addition, economic growth and dietary shifts towards animal source foods have put high pressure and demand on agricultural production. The high ecological footprint of meat and dairy production, as well as high feed costs, prevent the livestock sector from meeting the increasing demand in a sustainable manner. Insects such as the black soldier fly (BSF) have been identified as potential alternatives to the conventionally used protein sources in livestock feed due to their rich nutrient content and the fact that they can be reared on organic side streams. Substrates derived from organic byproducts are suitable for industrial large-scale production of insect meal. Although efficient in waste management and in feed production, BSF larvae are very sensitive to the external environment such as temperature and rearing medium. Therefore, we studied the effect of temperature and substrate type, i.e., brewers’ spent grain (SG) and cow dung (CD), on the development and survival of BSF larvae. Both organic substrates were readily available in Nairobi, Kenya, the location of the experiments. In our experiment, 100 3–5-day-old BSF larvae were placed into containers that contained either SG or CD and further treated at temperatures of 15 °C, 20 °C, 25 °C, 30 °C, and 35 °C. The duration of larval development was recorded, and the prepupae were removed, weighed, and placed individually in separate, labeled, 35-mL plastic cups filled with moist sawdust. After emergence, 10 2-day-old adults (5 males and 5 females) from every replica per substrate were transferred into a cage (40 × 40 × 40 cm) and allowed to mate for 24 h at their respective temperatures. The laid egg batches were collected and counted, and the adult flies’ longevity was recorded. The data were subjected to a two-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) using the general linear model procedure. BSF larvae reared on SG developed faster than those reared on CD; the former also favored higher temperatures for their larval development and emergence into adults. The optimum range was 25–30 °C. With increasing temperatures, the longevity of adult BSF decreased, while the fecundity of females increased. Thus, it is possible to take advantage of the readily available SG waste streams in the urban environments of Kenya to produce BSF larvae-derived livestock feed within a short duration of time and at relatively high temperatures. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Insects: Alternative Protein Source for Animal Feed)
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Open AccessArticle Does the Optimal Dietary Methionine to Cysteine Ratio in Diets for Growing Chickens Respond to High Inclusion Rates of Insect Meal from Hermetia illucens?
Animals 2018, 8(11), 187; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani8110187
Received: 28 September 2018 / Revised: 15 October 2018 / Accepted: 20 October 2018 / Published: 23 October 2018
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Abstract
The dietary methionine:cysteine (Met:Cys) ratio (MCR) is an important factor influencing the optimal growth of chickens. Therefore, this study aimed to contribute to the assessment of the optimal dietary MCR in diets with the complete replacement of soybean meal (SBM) by a partly [...] Read more.
The dietary methionine:cysteine (Met:Cys) ratio (MCR) is an important factor influencing the optimal growth of chickens. Therefore, this study aimed to contribute to the assessment of the optimal dietary MCR in diets with the complete replacement of soybean meal (SBM) by a partly defatted larvae meal of Hermetia illucens (HM). A growth study with 240 male meat-type chickens (Ross 308) was conducted, also assessing the body nutrient deposition both at the end of the starter (day 21) and the grower (day 35) period. Birds were fed experimental diets based on wheat, maize, and insect meal (23%/21% HM in starter/grower diets). Sulfur amino acids were created as the limiting AA in diets with graded MCR (40:60; 45:55; 50:50; 55:45; 60:40). The control diet contained SBM instead of HM with a MCR of 50:50. The current results based on growth parameters, dietary protein quality, and Met efficiency data gave support to the previous assumption of an ideal MCR of 50:50, which was also valid in diets with a high proportion of insect meal. The lowest MCR of 40:60 led to significantly impaired feed intake and growth of the birds, while the response to the highest MCR (60:40) was moderate. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Insects: Alternative Protein Source for Animal Feed)
Open AccessArticle N Balance Studies Emphasize the Superior Protein Quality of Pig Diets at High Inclusion Level of Algae Meal (Spirulina platensis) or Insect Meal (Hermetia illucens) when Adequate Amino Acid Supplementation Is Ensured
Animals 2018, 8(10), 172; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani8100172
Received: 6 September 2018 / Revised: 25 September 2018 / Accepted: 29 September 2018 / Published: 3 October 2018
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Abstract
Two age-dependent nitrogen (N) balance studies (average body mass 25 and 60 kg) utilized 16 male castrated piglets and 16 barrows to measure N utilization parameters of diets with complete substitution of SBM by alternative protein sources (SM, HM), but different AA fortifications. [...] Read more.
Two age-dependent nitrogen (N) balance studies (average body mass 25 and 60 kg) utilized 16 male castrated piglets and 16 barrows to measure N utilization parameters of diets with complete substitution of SBM by alternative protein sources (SM, HM), but different AA fortifications. Lysine supplementation up to 80% of the recommended lysine (Lys) supply in diets HM (A) and SM (A) yielded similar protein quality data (63.6 ± 2.1 and 63.7 ± 3.4). Surprisingly, only in piglet diet HM (AA) did the extended AA supplementation (Lys, methionine (Met), threonine (Thr)) enhance protein quality (72.8 ± 6.7) significantly (p = 0.004). Similar trends were observed in growing pigs. However, when the level of histidine (His) in diet SM (AA) was increased, feed protein quality (71.8 ± 1.3) was significantly (p < 0.001) improved indicating the importance of adequate His supply in diets with a complete substitution of SBM by the algae meal (SM) under study. AA efficiency data extend the possibilities to explain the observed responses on protein quality. When an adequate AA balancing in the diet is guaranteed, from nutritional point of view both of the alternative proteins may replace SBM in pig diets. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Insects: Alternative Protein Source for Animal Feed)
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