NETHERLANDS, Amsterdam. A 60–70% increase in consumption of animal products is expected by 2050. This increase in the consumption will demand enormous resources, the feed being the most challenging because of the limited availability of natural resources, ongoing climatic changes and food–feed–fuel competition. The costs of conventional feed resources such as soymeal and fishmeal are very high and moreover their availability in the future will be limited. Insect rearing could be a part of the solutions. Author Harinder Makkar and his team did some research.
Although some studies have been conducted on evaluation of insects, insect larvae or insect meals as an ingredient in the diets of some animal species, this field is in infancy. Here the researchers collate, synthesize and discuss the available information on five major insect species studied with respect to evaluation of their products as animal feed. The nutritional quality of black soldier fly larvae, the house fly maggots, mealworm, locusts–grasshoppers–crickets, and silkworm meal and their use as a replacement of soymeal and fishmeal in the diets of poultry, pigs, fish species and ruminants are discussed.
The crude protein contents of these alternate resources are high: 42–63% and so are the lipid contents (up to 36% oil), which could possibly be extracted and used for various applications including biodiesel production. Unsaturated fatty acid concentrations are high in housefly maggot meal, mealworm and house cricket (60–70%), while their concentrations in black soldier fly larvae are lowest (19–37%).
The studies have confirmed that palatability of these alternate feeds to animals is good and they can replace 25–100% of soymeal or fishmeal depending on the animal species.