Researchers consider insects as better alternative in animal feed production - LivestockTrend


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Monday 1 April 2019

Researchers consider insects as better alternative in animal feed production

Photo: Daniel Azevedo
Scientists at the Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG) in Brazil have taken a step in looking at insect options which can provide highly nutritious additions in animal feed in comparison with grains. 

They have shown through their research that insects have a nutritional edge over grain options. The research into insects as animal feed is being studied worldwide in various research institutions.

The insect options researched were meal-worms, crickets and black soldier flies. Their research revealed that these insects had a higher level of digestibility, lipids, vitamins and minerals when compared to grains like soy.

The United Nations in a report delivered in 2014 highlighted over 1,600 insect species which are deemed edible and can serve as alternatives in both human and animal consumption. Insects are highly prolific and contain high levels of protein, fats, iron, vitamins and minerals.

The applications of the UFMG research is for the meantime driven towards fish, quails and pets and have produced promising results in terms of meat quality due to the high lipid content in insects.

Zoologist, Diego Vicente da Costa, revealed that monogastrics, by nature, feed on insects and such feeding habits can have a large positive influence on their performance.

He also expressed the desire of UFMG to apply this research to pigs as there have been studies that indicate the promising effects of insect-based feeds in pig production. He cited that cricket-meal is more complete than conventional choices such as fishmeal diets in growing piglets. He also revealed that larvae and black soldier flies meal made a better substitute to soymeal when used in weaner pigs.

Edgar Garcia Manzanilla, who is currently researching on insect-feed options for pigs revealed that the method is not yet cost-effective in small-scale pig production which is prominent in Brazil as the current supply cannot meet the demand from the industries and consumers at large.

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