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With the high rate at which the world population was
growing, the world food supply should grow at the same
rate if not faster. The most affected from these would be the
people in the so-called third world countries. Therefore it
was essential that cheaper sources of protein and other
nutrients be found. This could be obtained from the plant
materials in abundance (Rama Rao et al., 2004) or
utilization of the wastes (Cho et al., 2004). However, insects,
which were said to have a huge quantity in the nature,
should be given priority in this quest. In fact, insects have
played an important role in nutrition, especially in areas
where human and domestic animal populations were
subjected to chronic protein deficiency (DeFoliart et al.,
1975; Conconi et al., 1984; DeFoliart et al., 1989). Though
the chemical composition and nutritional value of some
insects have been extensively investigated in various parts
of the world (Phelps et al., 1975; Finke et al., 1985;
DeFoliart et al., 1989;), more attention was paid to use
insects as feedstuff (DeFoliart et al., 1982; Landry et al.,
1986; Nakagaki et al., 1987). Compared to those insects, the
Field cricket (Gryllus testaceus walker) occurs in dense in
most areas of China and could be easily harvested in a
considerable amount. Furthermore, it could be mass rearing
under controlled condition according to our previous work.
Therefore, we conducted the study on its nutritional profile
and protein quality for poultry to demonstrate the
nutritional value of Field cricket.
MATERIALS AND METHODS
Insect samples were adults of Field cricket G. t e s t a c e u s
(50% male and female respectively), collected in Yangling
district of Shannxi province in China. Shortly after
collection, samples were stored at -20°C until required for
analysis. Before analyses samples were washed with tap
water, rinsed with distilled water, oven dried at 50°C for 72
h and ground to a 80 mesh size.
Other feedstuffs were purchased from Huaqing feed
company of Shannxi province in China.
The ash, fat content and crude protein for field cricket
and other feedstuffs were analyzed according to the
procedures of AOAC (1990). Amino acids (AA) were
determined with a Beckman Amino Acid Analyzer (121 MB,
from America) after hydrolyzing with 6 N hydrochloric acid
for 22 h at 110°C. Methionine and cystine were analyzed by
using formic acid (9 parts of 88% formic acid plus 1 part
30% hydrogen peroxide) protection prior to acid hydrolysis
(6 N hydrochloric acid for 22 h at 110°C). Chitin was
prepared and determined by the methods of Wang et al.
True amino acid digestibility and TMEn
The precision-fed rooster experiments were conducted
to determine the TMEn and true amino acid digestibility
(TAAD) according to the methods of Douglas (1997). The
Field cricket and fishmeal were respectively crop-intubated
(30 g) to cecectomized roosters for the true digestibility of
amino acid and TMEn. Adult Single Comb White Leghorn
roosters were used for the experiments, and excreta were
collected for 48 h after incubation. Gross energy was
Evaluation on Nutritional Value of Field Crickets as a Poultry Feedstuff
Dun Wang1, 3, *, Shao Wei Zhai1, 2, Chuan Xi Zhang3, Yao Yu Bai3, Shi Heng An3 and Ying Nan Xu2
1College of Forest, Northwest Sci-Tech University of Agriculture and Forestry, Shannxi Yangling 712100, P. R. China
ABSTRACT : The proximate analysis, amino acid content and true amino acid digestibility and TMEn for poultry of adult Field
crickets Gryllus testaceus Walker, were investigated. The insect was also used as partial replacement of protein supplements in the
broiler diet on an equal CP percentage and TMEn basis. The results indicated that the adult insect contained: crude protein 58.3%; fat
10.3%, chitin 8.7% and ash 2.96% on dry matter basis, respectively. The total amounts of methionine, cystine and lysine in the Field
crickets were 1.93%, 1.01% and 4.79%, respectively, and their true digestibility coefficients, determined in cecectomized roosters, were
94.1%, 85% and 96%, respectively. The TMEn of this insect meal was 2,960 kcal/kg determined in cecectomized roosters. When corn-
soybean meal diets were formulated on an equal CP percentage and TMEn basis, up to 15% Field cricket could replace control diet
without any adverse affects on broiler weight gain, feed intake or gain:feed ratio from 8 to 20 d posthatching. (Asian-Aust. J. Anim. Sci.
2005. Vol 18, No. 5 : 667-670)
Key Words : Field Cricket, Composition Analysis, Amino Acid Digestibility, Growth Performance, Poultry
* Corresponding Author: Dun Wang. Tel: +86-571-86971697,
Fax: +86-13175119081, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
2 College of Animal Science, Zhejiang university, Hangzhou,
310029, P. R. China.
3 Institute of Applied Entomology, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou
310029, P. R. China.
Received September 20, 2004; Accepted December 22, 2004
WA N G ET AL .
determined by using a bomb calorimeter. TAAD were
calculated according to the method of Sibbald (1979), and
TMEn was calculated by the method of Parsons et al.
(1982). Endogenous energy and AA were determined from
roosters that were deprived of feed for 48 h.
Insect meal substitution assay
The second experiment was conducted to determine the
growth performance of broilers fed experimental diets. 200
one-week-old Arbor Acres broilers were used in this broiler
The room temperature ranged from 20°C to 23°C. Feed
and water were supplied ad libitum and light was provided
24 h daily. The broilers were fed a 21.3% CP pretest diet
(control diet) during the first 7 d posthatching. Following
overnight fasting, the broilers were wing-banded, randomly
selected, weighed in groups of five and transferred to wire
cages for dietary treatments. The broilers of two adjacent
cages were considered an experimental replicate and the
four diets were fed to five replicates of 10 broilers from 8 to
20 d posthatching (50 broilers per treatment). The broiler
feeding trials were designed for three levels of replacements
of protein source by insect meal (5%, 10% and 15%) when
substituted for corn and soybean meal (Table 1). Diets
containing insect meal were formulated to be equal in
TMEn and CP percentage to the control diet. The TMEn,
CP and digestible amino acid values used for the insect
meal and fish meal were those values determined in the
precision-fed rooster assays, respectively, described above.
TMEn, CP and digestible amino acid values for corn and
soybean meal and the TMEn for soybean oil were analyzed
prior to initiation of the experiment.
All data from the experiments were analyzed using the
ANOVA procedure of SAS (SAS Institute, 1990) for
completely randomized designs. Statistical significances of
differences among treatments were assessed using the
Duncan’s multiple-range test.
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
Proximate composition analysis of field cricket
The proximate composition of Field cricket was listed
in Table 2. The crude protein percentage of Field cricket
was 58.3% on a dry basis, comparable with those of
conventional protein feed supplements, soybean meal, meat
and bone meal and fishmeal. This cricket was higher than
percentages of proteins reported for many insects, such as
58% protein content found in Mormon cricket Anabrus
simplex Haldeman (DeFoliart et al., 1982) and a protein
contents range of from 49.4% to 58.1% six larvaes of
species belonged to Lepidoptera (Landry et al., 1986), but
was somewhat lower than protein contents of some species,
Table 1. Composition of diets for insect meal substitution assay
Ingredients Control diet 5% insect meal 10% insect meal 15% insect meal
Ground corn 57.29 57.66 58.43 59.59
Soybean meal 22.50 21.10 18.50 15.30
Fish meal 10.00 6.00 3.00 -
Insect meal - 5.00 10.00 15.00
Soybean oil 7.10 6.70 6.20 5.80
Ground limestone 1.00 1.20 1.20 1.40
Dicalcium phosphate 1.00 1.30 1.70 2.00
Salt 0.40 0.40 0.40 0.40
Vitamin mix1 0.20 0.20 0.20 0.20
Trace mineral mix2 0.15 0.15 0.15 0.15
DL-methionine 0.28 0.24 0.20 0.16
L-lysine 0.08 0.05 0.02 -
CP 21.3 21.3 21.3 21.0
Ca 1.00 1.00 1.00 1.00
Nonphytate P 0.60 0.60 0.60 0.60
Digestible lysine 1.16 1.16 1.16 1.16
Digestible met+cys 0.91 0.91 0.91 0.91
TMEn (kcal/kg) 3,210 3,210 3,210 3,210
1 Provided per kg of diet: vitamin A (from vitamin A acetate) 4,400 IU; cholecalciferol (as activated animal sterol) 1,000 IU; vitamin E (from dl-alpha
tocopheryl acetate) 11 IU; vitamin B12 0.01 mg; riboflavin 4.41 mg; niacin 22 mg; pantothenic acid 10 mg; menadione (from menadione
dimethylpyrimidinol) 1.0 mg; folic acid 0.9 mg; thiamin (from thiamine mononitrate) 1.0 mg; pyridoxine (from pyridoxine hydrochloride) 2.0 mg.
2 Provided per kg of diet: Mn (from manganese oxide) 75 mg; Zn (from zinc oxide) 75 mg; Fe (from iron sulfate) 50 mg; Cu (from from copper sulfate) 5
mg; I (from ethylene diamine dihydroiodide) 1 mg; Se (from sodium selenite) 0.2mg.
3 The Ca and P values for fish meal, corn and soybean meal were derived from the NRC (1994). The TMEnof soybean oil, corn and soybean meal were
analyzed to be 8,370 kcal/kg, 3,250 kcal/kg and 2,240 kcal/kg respectively. The CP of corn and soybean meal were determined to be 8.5% and 46.8%
respectively. The other values were previously analyzed and listed in Table 2 to Table 4.
FIELD CRICKETS FOR POULTRY
for examples, 62% protein content in House cricket Acheta
domesticus L. (Nakagaki et al., 1987) and 68% protein
content in silkworm pupae (Wei and Liu, 2001). The results
also indicated that the fat and, thus, energy content was
higher in this insect powder than in the conventional protein
supplements in all cases (Table 2). Chitin was used as a
toxin binder and chitin supplementation significantly
diminished the adverse effects of aflatoxin (Khajarern et al.,
2003). The chitin content of this insect was 8.7%, and
whether the insect chitin played a role of toxin binder or
contributed any effects to broiler growth performance still
needed further study.
Amino acid profile
Total amino acid profiles for Field cricket and fishmeal
were shown in Table 3. The amino acids percentages of
Field cricket were higher than those of fishmeal except for
histidine. The percentage of lysine, methionine and cysteine
were 4.79%, 1.93% and 1.01% respectively in Field cricket
while they were 4.51%, 1.59% and 0.49% in fishmeal,
indicated that the essential amino acids of this insect were
adequate for poultry. Contrastively, the earlier studies
showed that the essential amino acid of Mormon cricket and
house cricket were deficient in methionine (DeFoliart et al.,
1982; Finke et al., 1985; Nakagaki et al., 1987). For
example, the percentage of lysine and methionine were
3.48% and 0.93% respectively (Cysteine was not reported,
Nakagaki et al., 1987) in House cricket. In addition, the
essential amino acids of larval of six species of Lepidoptera
were deficient in methionine, cysteine and possibly lysine
(Landry et al., 1986). Thus, Field cricket had an advantage
on amino acid composition compared with other insects
reported, that was, Field cricket contained high quantity of
True digestibility of field cricket
Our first rooster experiment was for true amino acid
digestibility coefficients and TMEn values of the insect and
the results were shown in Table 4. The true amino acid
digestibility coefficients for essential amino acids ranged
from 82% for cysteine to 99% for asparagine. The TMEn of
the Field cricket was found to be 2,960 kcal/kg as measured
in conventional birds. Most of the TAAD coefficients for
Field cricket were higher than those for fishmeal except for
isoleucine, tyrosine, serine and glutamic acid. The average
of TAAD coefficients of Field cricket (92.9%) was higher
than that of fish meal (91.3%). It revealed that the Field
cricket contained not only high quantity of protein but also
considerable amounts of digestible amino acid for poultry.
Growth performance of broilers fed experimental diets
In the second broiler experiment where insect meal
Table 2. Chemical analysis of Field cricket compared with other
feedstuffs (g/100 g, dry matter basis)1
Proximate analysis Ash Chitin Fat Crude
Field cricket 2.96 8.7 10.3 58.3
Fish meal 12.51 - 4.11 60.2
Meat and bone meal 31.65 - 8.47 48.5
Soybean meal 6.13 - 1.84 46.8
1 All the values were the means of five determinations.
Table 3. Amino acid profile of Field cricket compared with fish
meal (g/100 g, dry matter basis)1
profile Field cricket (CP: 58.3)
Fish meal (CP: 60.2)
Arg 3.68 3.24
His 1.94 3.7
Ile 3.09 2.33
Leu 5.52 4.20
Lys 4.79 4.51
Met 1.93 1.59
Cys 1.01 0.49
Phe 2.86 2.35
Tyr 3.94 1.72
Thr 2.75 2.25
Val 4.42 2.62
Asp 6.29 4.77
Ser 3.72 2.06
Glu 9.07 6.02
Ala 5.55 3.33
Pro 4.50 2.71
Gly 3.62 3.11
1 All the values were the means of five determinations.
2 AA means amino acid.
Table 4. True amino acid digestibility coefficients and TMEn for
Field cricket and fish meal1
Components Field cricket Fish meal Pooled SEM
Arg 93.6 90.8 2.3
His 96.2 93.3 2.7
Ile 89.1 90.1 1.7
Leu 93.6 93.5 4.4
Lys 96.0 92.0 2.2
Met 94.1 93.1 3.2
Cys 85.0 83.7 2.1
Phe 93.2 91.0 4.1
Tyr 92.7 93.2 3.2
Thr 95.3 91.7 2.4
Val 94.4 91.7 2.4
Asp 96.0 90.2 1.9
Ser 90.6 91.4 2.6
Glu 89.9 91.7 3.7
Ala 96.4 94.5 2.9
Pro 91.0 88.2 1.0
Mean 92.9 91.3
TMEn 2,960 2,820
1 The true amino acid digestibility was the mean of five cecectomized
roosters, expressed on an air-dry basis.
2 TAAD means true amino acid digestibility.
WA N G ET AL .
replaced partial protein supplement on an equal of CP
percentage and TMEn basis, broilers growth were not
significantly affected among diets with up to 15% insect
meals (Table 5). These results agree with previous research
on broiler (Finke et al., 1985) that were no significant
differences in weight gain or feed/gain ratios between
broilers fed corn-cricket diets and those fed reference diets.
Nakagaki et al. (1987) reported that gain/feed ratios
improved significantly when diets were supplemented with
methionine and arginine and based on an equal of TMEn
and CP percentage. The difference of gain/feed ratios
between our research and Nakagaki’s (1987) was probably
due to difference of the insect species and the supplemented
amino acids, methionine and arginine. However, it was
ascertained that the protein of Field cricket had no adverse
effect as a feedstuff.
Our results indicated that the Field cricket contained not
only certain quantity of protein but also considerable
amounts of digestible amino acid. The Field cricket had an
advantage on composition of amino acids for poultry,
especially the percentage of lysine, methionine and cysteine,
so it might be a new source of dietary nitrogen for poultry,
at least would be extremely beneficial as a complement to a
domestic animal diet and could be fitted in to meal patterns
in a variety of ways. For this reason, the utilization of the
insect resource as feed was practical and helpful for the
protein deficiency for some area, especially the poverty
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Table 5. Growth performance of broilers fed a diet containing
different amounts of insect meal on an equal TMEn and digestible
amino acid basis1
Diets Weight gain (g) Feed intake Gain:feed
Control diet 351 568 0.618
5% insect meal 357 575 0.621
10% insect meal 352 558 0.631
15% insect meal 351 576 0.609
Pooled SEM 3 9 0.008
1 Means of five groups of ten broilers, average initial weight=96 g.