Protein deficit in feed sector and insects as alternative raw material

03 August 20195 min reading

The demand for alternative protein sources is growing annually as are prices of conventional protein feed sources, such as soybean meal, fish meal, and meat meal. Such limitations are felt predominantly in less developed nations; however, this pressure will spread globally as the human population is expected to reach 9 billion people in 2050. Furthermore, as technology continues to be refined with insect production systems, the associated price of such materials produced is expected to decrease, thus increasing the profitability of poultry and aquaculture production for the farmer and other affiliated businesses.

Kashif ur Rehman, Insectplus+, Biowaste Management Specialist Carsten Roth, Insectplus+, CEO

PROTEIN DEFICIT IN POULTRY AND AQUACULTURE FEED Due to the rapid growth of the global human population, which is predicted to reach 9 billion by 2050, food demand is expected to double (Makkar et al., 2014; Tilman et al., 2011). Unfortunately, animal feed and human food production is expected to increase only by 60% during that timeframe (Tomberlin et al., 2015). Furthermore, future shortages of maize, rice, wheat, and soybean are estimated at approximately 67%, 42%, 38%, and 55% respectively (Ray et al., 2013). Consequently, the undernourished global population is expected to increase by approximately 805 million, which could lead to greater risk of local, regional, and global disease outbreaks (Tomberlin et al., 2015). Moreover, urbanization will increase 70% by 2050 (Estrada et al., 2011), which could reduce agricultural lands available for food production (Mensbrugghe, 2009). This increase in the global human population in conjunction with increased urbanization, and increased income per capita will change the nutritional consumption habits (greater protein demands) with demands for milk and meat expected to increase by 70%, and 58% respectively during this time period (Estrada et al., 2011; Makkar et al., 2014).

Currently 40% of ice free land globally is utilized for agriculture, and 70% of total agriculture land is used to produce feed for livestock (FAO, 2009; Foley et al., 2011; Ramankutty et al., 2018). To make matters worse, 70% of total fresh water, and 110 million tons of chemical fertilizer used in agriculture are for feeding livestock, which contributes 14% to 17% of total greenhouse gases (GHG) (Gerber et al., 2013; Ravindran, 2013; Sakadevan and Nguyen, 2017). In 2012-2013, 795 million tons of cereal were produced world-wide with 1/3 being used for livestock feed (FAO, 2009).

Therefore there is a need to exploit not only conventional feed ingredients but also to replace expensive proteins in currently used in poultry feed, such as fish meal (FM), soybean meal (SBM), and meat meal (MM) (Mohammed, 2017; Van Huis et al., 2013). Doing so would allow materials traditionally used for livestock, and aquaculture feed to be made available for direct human consumption. As a result, the demand of low cost poultry and aquaculture feed is critical for stabilizing the future availability of feedstock for poultry and aquaculture production (De Marco et al., 2015; Thévenot et al., 2018).

ALTERNATIVE PROTEIN SOURCE Insects have been identified as promising alternatives protein sources due to the potential for their replacement of conventional protein source by animal or plant origins. Therefore, a novel alternative protein resources for human food and animal feed, are the mass production of insects (Zhao et al., 2016). Edible insects are gaining recognition due to their high conversion rates of waste (i.e., not competing with direct human consumption as some insects mass produced are fed organic wastes) to biomass, short development cycle, and high protein content (Oonincx et al., 2015; Van Der Fels-Klerx et al., 2016). Presently, more than 2000 species of edible insects have been documented around the globe (van Huis, 2015). Data indicate the nutritional quality of edible insects was enough to fight against human malnutrition (Payne et al., 2016). As novel protein source, insects containing large quantities of crude protein (CP) and crude fat (CF) with high economic value are used to replace such traditional protein sources as FM, and soybean meal in the animal, poultry, and aquaculture compound feed manufacturing industry.

The nutritional value of seven potential species of insect, black soldier fly, mealworm, cricket, housefly, termites, earthworm, and silkworm permitted as a source of protein in poultry and fish feed industry. These species are considered non-pathogenic and present no risk to human, animal or plant health. Furthermore, they do not transmit human, animal or plant pathogens, In fact, they are now classified as "cultivated insects" or “farm insect” and have a status similar to that of livestock. To produce animal feed, the cultivation of these insects is allowed only on a particular type of substrate. Insects are capable of transforming low-value organic wastes into protein and fat (Barroso et al., 2014; Myers et al., 2008; Schiavone et al., 2016). In various feeding studies larval or prepupal meal was found to be a suitable alternative to the partial or total replacement of FM, MM, and plant proteins meal in livestock feed (Makkar et al., 2014), poultry feed (Schiavone et al., 2016), and aquaculture feed (St-Hilaire et al. 2007, Cummins et al. 2017).

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