INSECT MEALS AS AN IDEAL FOOD AND ALTERNATIVE PROTEIN SOURCE IN FISH DIET

18/09/2019

Summary

The population growth worldwide is accompanied by increased demand for more food and for more available land for the production and storage of livestock and greater production and disposal of feed, causing food crisis throughout the world. Edible insects, such as Tenebrio molitor (Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae), and insect meal production can be an ideal food ingredient and an alternative source of essential nutrients due to their high nutritional and energy value. The proposed idea aims to investigate the potential of using insect meals as protein sources in the fish diets, with the overall aim to reduce the environmental impact of aquaculture and to enhance its sustainability.

Technology Description

 

The high protein content of edible insects, like Tenebrio Molitor, it’s mono- and polyunsaturated fatty acids (usually phospholipids), vitamins, amino acids and trace elements (mainly iron and zinc) contribute to the production of novel foods under Regulation (EU) 2015/2283) and animal feed, thus solving malnutrition problems that have already begun to be a serious problem in many regions of the world (FAO, 2009; van Huis et al., 2013; Mlcek et al., 2014; Ribeiro, 2017; Tian et al., 2016). This proposal aims to investigate the potential of using insect meals as protein sources in the fish diets.

More specifically the influence of different substrates that reflect to different main nutrients (carbohydrates, protein and fiber) on the larval nutrient content will be explored. The tested substrates are at the form of dry powder, which include mainly industry by-products or/and by-products derived from distillation procedure of essential oils that could be considered as main components for a commercial mass production of insect meal.

Main advantages

Insects as feed appear to be favorable due to:

a) high nutritional quality

b) low requirements for land, water and energy

c) high conversion efficiency of feed into insect biomass

d) bringing valuable ingredients back into the food chain (circular economy)

e) Lower environmental footprint

Stage of development

Several studies suggest that insect flours can successfully replace fishmeal in fish feed production for fish farms, but also integrate into the production of other feed, such as poultry farming, making it a viable solution to meet the nutritional needs of mass livestock. With regard to the nutritional value of adult T. molitor larvae used for the production of insect meal, it is worth mentioning that they contain a high percentage of crude proteins (47-60%) and fats (31-43%) (van Huis et al., 2013).

Challenge and needs

  • The mass rearing o T. Molitor, the production of insect flour and its inclusion in the daily diet of people, pet, livestock and aquaculture
  • The influence of different substrates that reflect to different main nutrients (carbohydrates, protein and fiber) on the larval nutrient content
  • Further experimentation is needed to validate the idea that is in line with the EU regulation 2015/2283

Intellectual property

A prior art search has been planned

Potential markets and targets

  • Companies producing feeds for birds, reptiles and fish
  • Aquaculture units
  • Poultry farming companies
  • Insect farming companies

Potential partners

  • This technology could be developed by a local company which is specialized in innovative mass rearing of insects for agricultural purposes

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