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Insects, Food Security and Circular Food Production

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Sustainable Food".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 August 2022) | Viewed by 18063

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Department of Biology & CESAM, University of Aveiro, Aveiro, Portugal
Interests: ecology; entomology; biodiversity; insect rearing; nature-based solutions

E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Biology & CESAM, University of Aveiro, Aveiro, Portugal
Interests: ecology; nutrient dynamics; biodiversity, nature-based solutions; sustainable development

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

One of the biggest challenges humanity currently faces to achieve food security is the intensification of global food and feed production systems. The expected projections of population growth must be accompanied by the provision of nutritious and sufficient food for all. Currently, food is produced in an unsustainable way with a high impact on the environment and people’s health and with food loss and waste further compromising the food systems sustainability. In addition, the challenges posed by the climatic change will threaten food security even further.

Insects can be viable agents for the bioconversion of food waste and other organic side-streams, as well as viable ingredients for food and feed. Insect-based food biodiversity is also an opportunity to cope with the need for extra food sources and food security, since it provides additional nutrients to people, especially in countries with traditional entomophagy. Edible insects can be a viable solution to improve food security. Insects are highly rich in proteins and other important nutrients and are more efficient food converters than other animals. Their low requirement for arable land, water and food, as well as their low carbon dioxide emissions, makes insects a more sustainable source of food and feed than other currently used ingredients and can be a viable alternative towards more sustainable food production systems.

This Special Issue invites novel contributions in the form of critical reviews and research papers to address all aspects of the role of insects in food security and in circular food production systems. We encourage submissions that address topics and questions such as the following:

  • Insects and food security
  • The insect, food and biodiversity nexus
  • Insects as bioconverters of waste
  • Insects as nutrient-rich ingredients for food and feed
  • Insects’ role in circular food production
  • Edible insects
  • Insects as feed ingredients
  • Insects and aquaculture
  • Edible insects and environmental policies

Dr. Olga M. C. C. Ameixa
Dr. Ana Isabel Lillebø
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • insects
  • waste management
  • circular economy
  • food and feed production
  • population growth
  • climate change
  • biodiverse foods
  • edible insects

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

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18 pages, 1213 KiB  
Article
Sensory Perception Nudge: Insect-Based Food Consumer Behavior
by Oliva M. D. Martins, Rocsana Bucea-Manea-Țoniș, Ana Sofia Coelho and Violeta-Elena Simion
Sustainability 2022, 14(18), 11541; https://doi.org/10.3390/su141811541 - 14 Sep 2022
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 2593
Abstract
The negative impact that animal protein sources have on the environment is a critical world problem. Finding new acceptable alternatives is crucial. Nevertheless, numerous factors influence the decision to try an unknown food. By adopting a consumer behavior perspective as well as approaching [...] Read more.
The negative impact that animal protein sources have on the environment is a critical world problem. Finding new acceptable alternatives is crucial. Nevertheless, numerous factors influence the decision to try an unknown food. By adopting a consumer behavior perspective as well as approaching the possibility of overcoming neophobia, this research examined the influence of sensory perception on consumer behavior with regard to the experimentation with new foods, focusing on entomophagy. A theoretical model was developed, and path analysis and factor influence were based on the structural equation model (PLS-SEM), designed in SmartPLS, to test the model relationships. Despite the low level of awareness concerning the benefits of entomophagy, this study considered that many aspects influence experimentation with new food, specifically our sensorial system. Sensory perception is founded on the senses, such as the tactile, olfactory, visual, and gustatory senses, which can influence perception. In line with these assumptions, this research identified the three most important and decisive factors that can influence individuals’ sensory perceptions: preparation, visual and related aspects, and the presentation of the shape of food have an influence on sensory perception regarding entomophagy consumer behavior. People like to know the method of preparation as well as the ingredients and the color of the food. These findings are crucial to food business practitioners, policymakers, and marketers, who can adopt some food process strategies following sensory perception, that will contribute to changing the habits of consumers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Insects, Food Security and Circular Food Production)
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21 pages, 1688 KiB  
Article
Recognizing Potential Pathways to Increasing the Consumption of Edible Insects from the Perspective of Consumer Acceptance: Case Study from Finland
by Vilma Halonen, Ville Uusitalo, Jarkko Levänen, Jani Sillman, Lauri Leppäkoski and Anna Claudelin
Sustainability 2022, 14(3), 1439; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14031439 - 27 Jan 2022
Cited by 16 | Viewed by 3056
Abstract
Mitigating the sustainability challenges related to agriculture and ensuring adequate availability of nutritious food requires an increase in the use of sustainable alternative protein sources. Edible insects are considered to be a sustainable protein source and a possible substitute for meat. There are [...] Read more.
Mitigating the sustainability challenges related to agriculture and ensuring adequate availability of nutritious food requires an increase in the use of sustainable alternative protein sources. Edible insects are considered to be a sustainable protein source and a possible substitute for meat. There are many readily available edible insect species with many competing utilization possibilities, which, from the producers’ perspective, increases the complexity of the area. Through a consumer survey and expert interviews, this study recognizes four pathways to increasing the use of edible insects in Western countries and especially in Finland where the survey and interviews were conducted: (1) producing a variety of insect-based food products, especially food products where insects are not recognizable as such and the food is in a familiar form; (2) producing edible insect food products which could replace greenhouse gas emission-intensive animal proteins; (3) focusing on the price, taste, and availability of insect food; and (4) using insects as animal feed. Our findings provide information on the prospects of the studied pathways in terms of consumption and production. Technological development is expected to decrease the price of insect-based food products, but at the same time, the increased use of edible insects faces challenges related to eating habits, contradictory perceptions about the sustainability implications of insect farming, and the availability of insect-based products. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Insects, Food Security and Circular Food Production)
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Review

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14 pages, 1721 KiB  
Review
Improving the Lipid Profile of Black Soldier Fly (Hermetia illucens) Larvae for Marine Aquafeeds: Current State of Knowledge
by Daniela P. Rodrigues, Olga M. C. C. Ameixa, José Antonio Vázquez and Ricardo Calado
Sustainability 2022, 14(11), 6472; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14116472 - 25 May 2022
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 2755
Abstract
The replacement of fish meal and fish oil by insect-based ingredients in the formulation of marine aquafeeds can be an important step towards sustainability. To pursue this goal, the modulation of the lipid profile of black soldier fly larvae (Hermetia illucens) [...] Read more.
The replacement of fish meal and fish oil by insect-based ingredients in the formulation of marine aquafeeds can be an important step towards sustainability. To pursue this goal, the modulation of the lipid profile of black soldier fly larvae (Hermetia illucens) has received great attention. While its nutritional profile can shift with diet, the ability to modulate its lipidome is yet to be understood. The present work provides an overview of the lipid modulation of H. illucens larvae through its diet, aiming to produce a more suitable ingredient for marine aquafeeds. Marine-based substrates significantly improve the lipid profile of H. illucens larvae, namely its omega-3 fatty acids profile. An improvement of approximately 40% can be achieved using fish discards. Substantial levels of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), two essential fatty acids for marine fish and shrimp species, were recorded in H. illucens larvae fed on fish discards and coffee silverskin with Schyzochytrium sp. Unfortunately, these improvements are still deeply connected to marine-based bioresources, some still being too costly for use at an industrial scale (e.g., microalgae). New approaches using solutions from the biotechnology toolbox will be decisive to make H. illucens larvae a feasible alternative ingredient for marine aquafeeds without having to rely on marine bioresources. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Insects, Food Security and Circular Food Production)
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29 pages, 2852 KiB  
Review
The Potential Impacts by the Invasion of Insects Reared to Feed Livestock and Pet Animals in Europe and Other Regions: A Critical Review
by Felipe Lourenço, Ricardo Calado, Isabel Medina and Olga M. C. C. Ameixa
Sustainability 2022, 14(10), 6361; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14106361 - 23 May 2022
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 4596
Abstract
While the use of alien insect species for food and feed can help to alleviate protein shortage and provide for a more sustainable feed production, their invasive potential should be considered since invasive alien species represent one of the five main global threats [...] Read more.
While the use of alien insect species for food and feed can help to alleviate protein shortage and provide for a more sustainable feed production, their invasive potential should be considered since invasive alien species represent one of the five main global threats to biodiversity. In the European Union (EU), eight insect species have already been authorized to be used as feed ingredients for aquaculture organisms, pets, poultry, and pigs. These species were selected based on available national risk assessments, as most of them are non-native to Europe. However, it is not clear how these risk assessments truly consider all EU bioregions, given that the information used was mostly biased towards northern European regions. As a large proportion of invasive alien species already present in the EU were introduced unintentionally, it is therefore crucial to understand and manage the potential pathways of such introductions in a more effective way. Here, we provide a critical overview of the potential risks of rearing alien insect species as feed or as pet food (for both livestock and exotic pets) in the EU. The results showed that some of these insect species have an invasive potential, either due to their reproductive capacity in different climates or due to the fact that they have already established populations in areas where they were introduced, with negative effects on local ecosystems or causing economical losses. For this reason, it is recommended that risk assessments should be performed in other EU bioregions as well as monitoring programs to control the spread of insect species with invasive potential. In addition, other available native insect species with potential to be used as feed ingredients should be considered. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Insects, Food Security and Circular Food Production)
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11 pages, 291 KiB  
Review
Mopane Worm (Gonimbrasia belina Westwood) Meal as a Potential Protein Source for Sustainable Quail Production: A Review
by Caven Mguvane Mnisi, Chika Ethelbert Oyeagu and Oziniel Ruzvidzo
Sustainability 2022, 14(9), 5511; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14095511 - 04 May 2022
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 3409
Abstract
Fast-growing and highly adaptable avian birds such as quail (Coturnix coturnix) possess great potential to meet the growing demand for animal protein by the rapidly increasing human population, and would contribute immensely to global food production and nutritional security. However, overreliance [...] Read more.
Fast-growing and highly adaptable avian birds such as quail (Coturnix coturnix) possess great potential to meet the growing demand for animal protein by the rapidly increasing human population, and would contribute immensely to global food production and nutritional security. However, overreliance on conventional protein sources such as fish and soybean meals during the formulation of quail diets is economically and environmentally unsustainable. Alternatively, insect-based protein sources such as Gonimbrasia belina, commonly known as mopane worm (MW), can be used to increase quail production due to their high biological value and low feed-food competition. Indeed, MW is highly nutritious, with an average protein content of 55% and a well-balanced amino acid profile. Thus, its incorporation in quail diets could provide great potential to alleviate nutritional deficiencies in quail production and allow for their sustainable intensification. However, there are limited studies on the effect of partial or complete replacement of conventional protein sources with mopane worm meal (MWM) in quail diets. This paper reviews the nutritional profile and use of the MW as a protein source, as well as its potential future prospects in poultry diets. Finally, we postulate that mass production of this insect-based protein source and its sustainability would be an inventive strategy to develop a profitable quail business. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Insects, Food Security and Circular Food Production)
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