Interpretive Summary: Are insects a solution for feeding ruminants? Legislation, scientific evidence, and future challenges
By: Manuela Renna, Lara Rastello, Teun Veldkamp, Pablo G Toral, Manuel Gonzalez-Ronquillo, Lizbeth Esmeralda Robles Jimenez, Laura Gasco
The growing interest of the scientific community on the inclusion of insect-derived products in ruminant diets is leading to a boost of research papers on this topic. Even though in absolute terms the increase in the number of published papers is limited—because limited is also the literature on this topic—the scientific production in 2022 equals the scientific production of the former 19 years (about 10 papers published in each above-mentioned time-period). The reason is that insect-derived products are considered not only promising but also sustainable feed ingredients, thanks to the ability of insects to successfully convert relatively low-value agri-food waste into high-quality proteins and fats. The insect crude protein content varies, according to insect stage and processing technology, from 7.5% to 91% (dry matter—DM—basis), while the crude fat values range between 46% and 64% (DM basis) (Finke and Oonincx, 2023). Moreover, their production is characterized by limited environmental footprint. A generalization of their use in ruminant farming could contribute to limit its impact and to move towards a Circular Economy model (Gasco et al., 2020). However, this requires that reality meets expectations.
Read the full article in Animal Frontiers.