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Food Wastes as a Potential New Source for Edible Insect Mass Production for Food and Feed: A review

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About one-third of the food produced annually worldwide ends up as waste. A minor part of this waste is used for biofuel and compost production, but most is landfilled, causing environmental damage. Mass production of edible insects for human food and livestock feed seems a sustainable solution to meet demand for animal-based protein, which is expected to increase due to rapid global population growth. The aim of this review was to compile up-to-date information on mass rearing of edible insects for food and feed based on food wastes. The use and the potential role of the fermentation process in edible insect mass production and the potential impact of this rearing process in achieving an environmentally friendly and sustainable food industry was also assessed. Food waste comprises a huge nutrient stock that could be valorized to feed nutritionally flexible edible insects. Artificial diets based on food by-products for black soldier fly, house fly, mealworm, and house cricket mass production have already been tested with promising results. The use of fermentation and fermentation by-products can contribute to this process and future research is proposed towards this direction. Part of the sustainability of the food sector could be based on the valorization of food waste for edible insect mass production. Further research on functional properties of reared edible insects, standardization of edible insects rearing techniques, safety control aspects, and life cycle assessments is needed for an insect-based food industry.
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fermentation
Review
Food Wastes as a Potential New Source for Edible
Insect Mass Production for Food and Feed: A review
Vassileios Varelas
Biodynamic Research Institute, Skillebyholm 7, 15391 Järna, Sweden; vavarelas@chem.uoa.gr or
vassileios.varelas@sbfi.se
Received: 9 August 2019; Accepted: 27 August 2019; Published: 2 September 2019


Abstract:
About one-third of the food produced annually worldwide ends up as waste. A minor part
of this waste is used for biofuel and compost production, but most is landfilled, causing environmental
damage. Mass production of edible insects for human food and livestock feed seems a sustainable
solution to meet demand for animal-based protein, which is expected to increase due to rapid global
population growth. The aim of this review was to compile up-to-date information on mass rearing
of edible insects for food and feed based on food wastes. The use and the potential role of the
fermentation process in edible insect mass production and the potential impact of this rearing process
in achieving an environmentally friendly and sustainable food industry was also assessed. Food waste
comprises a huge nutrient stock that could be valorized to feed nutritionally flexible edible insects.
Artificial diets based on food by-products for black soldier fly, house fly, mealworm, and house
cricket mass production have already been tested with promising results. The use of fermentation
and fermentation by-products can contribute to this process and future research is proposed towards
this direction. Part of the sustainability of the food sector could be based on the valorization of food
waste for edible insect mass production. Further research on functional properties of reared edible
insects, standardization of edible insects rearing techniques, safety control aspects, and life cycle
assessments is needed for an insect-based food industry.
Keywords: edible insects; food wastes; insect mass production; fermentation; sustainability
1. Introduction
Entomophagy, i.e., the practice of eating insects as food, formed part of the prehistoric diet in
many areas worldwide [
1
,
2
]. Over the millennia since then, it has been a regular part of the diet
of many people from various cultures throughout the world [
3
,
4
]. Globally, more than two billion
people, mainly in Asia, Africa, and South America, are estimated to practice entomophagy [
2
,
4
,
5
],
with more than 2000 edible insect species being used for this purpose [
6
]. In Western culture, however,
entomophagy is not accepted and is considered a disgusting and primitive behavior, while insects are
associated with pests [
7
]. However, this taboo seems to be weakening in recent years, as eating habits
have been changing and a new trend for insect-based products and incorporation of entomophagy into
the Western diet has begun [8,9].
In the near future, demand for animal-based food protein is expected to increase by up to
70% [
10
] due to exponential growth in the global population, which is predicted to reach 9 billion
by 2050 [
3
,
8
]. The increased food production required to meet this demand will be accompanied by
further exhaustion of water, agricultural, forestry, fishery, and biodiversity resources, with negative
environmental impacts [
11
]. When the problem of climate change is added to these concerns, then
global food security becomes an even more crucial issue [12,13].
Edible insects are called the insect species which can be used for human consumption but also
for livestock feed as a whole, parts of them, and/or protein, and lipid extract [
11
,
14
,
15
]. Edible
Fermentation 2019,5, 81; doi:10.3390/fermentation5030081 www.mdpi.com/journal/fermentation
Fermentation 2019,5, 81 2 of 19
insects seem a promising alternative solution to achieving food security in the upcoming global food
crisis [
16
], because they provide some significant advantages for human nutrition, including high
protein, amino acids, lipids, energy, and various micronutrients [
17
,
18
]. Moreover, compared with
livestock, insect rearing has a lower environmental impact as multiple and various food sources can
be used, greenhouse gas emissions are low, the water and space requirements are low, and the feed
conversion rate is high [
7
,
11
]. In addition to serving as food and feed, insects can also contribute
significantly to food sustainability through biowaste degradation and conversion into food, feed, and
fertilizers [
19
]. Furthermore, they can help preserve biodiversity [
20
] and assist in plant pollination
and pest control [9].
In the global food industry, around 1.3 billion tonnes of various food wastes are discarded every
year [
21
]. The waste generated in the food industry originate mainly from primary production, food
processing, wholesale and logistics, combined with retail and markets, food service, and households.
For 2012, the estimated volume of food waste for the EU alone was about 88 million tonnes [
22
].
In the USA, almost 45 million tonnes of fresh vegetables, fruits, milk, and grain products are wasted
annually [
23
]. According to Baiano (2014), up to 42% of total food waste is produced in households [
24
].
In many cases, food waste residues are dicult to utilize for the recovery of value-added products
due to their biological instability, potentially pathogenic nature, high water content, rapid autoxidation,
and high level of enzymatic activity [
25
]. On the other hand, this biomaterial comprises a huge nutrient
stock [
26
] and could be valorized through biodegradation by various edible insect species in a mass
production system [9,27,28].
The aim of this review was to compile up-to-date information on rearing edible insects for food and
feed purposes using food waste as a substrate. The impact of this bioconversion system in achieving
an environmentally friendly and sustainable food industry was also considered.
2. Edible Insect Species Commonly Mass Produced for Food, Feed, and Other Applications
In general, within edible insect rearing and gathering three main strategies are followed: wild
harvesting (not farming), semi-domestication (outdoor farming), and farming (indoor farming) [
11
].
Globally, 92% of edible insect species are wild-harvested, but semi-domestication and farming can
provide a food supply in a more sustainable way [
3
]. Farming of insects for food and feed has recently
begun [7].
Regarding consumer acceptance, distribution, rearing conditions, environmental impact, food
safety aspects, nutritional value, and use as a component in the diet of farmed animals, pets, and fish,
the main commercial edible species harvested in the wild worldwide, but also used for industrial
large-scale production, belong to six major orders: Coleoptera, Hymenoptera, Isoptera, Lepidoptera,
Orthoptera, and Diptera [15,29].
The most commonly used commercial insects in mass production are mulberry silkworm,
waxworm, yellow mealworm, house cricket, black soldier fly, housefly (indoor farming), palm weevil,
bamboo caterpillar, weaver ant, grasshopper (outdoor farming), eri silkworm, muga silkworm, giant
hornet, and termite (wild farming) [
15
,
30
]. The insects most commonly used as animal feed are
black soldier fly, housefly, mealworm, beetles, locusts, grasshoppers, crickets, and silkworm [
31
].
Some edible insect species are also used for medical applications, e.g., Lucilia sericata (common
green bottlefly) is used as a biological indicator of post-mortem interval (PMI), in human pathology,
while its larvae are used in human medicine for healing chronic injuries that cannot be cured with
conventional treatments [
32
]. Moreover, the allantoin secreted by the larvae is used in the treatment of
osteomyelitis [
30
]. Other applications of edible insects include biodegradation of polystyrene in the
environment using Tenebrio molitor mealworm [
33
,
34
], use of black soldier for municipal organic waste
management [
35
], and the use of non-mammalian models like Galleria mellonella larvae, also known as
waxworm, to model human diseases caused by a number of bacterial pathogens [36].
Fermentation 2019,5, 81 3 of 19
The most common commercially reared edible insects and their applications for human food and
animal and fish feed, as medicines, for component extraction and as environmental treatments are
listed in Table 1.
Table 1.
Summary of the edible insect species most commonly reared for food and feed, the
developmental stage at which they are used, the type of farming system, and commercial applications.
Insect species Common name Developmental
Stage Source Application Reference
Bombyx mori Mulberry
silkworm Larvae, pupae Farming Human food, animal feed [11,15,37]
Tenebrio molitor Yellow
mealworm Larvae Farming
Human food, feed for pets,
zoo animals and fish,
polystyrene degradation [15,28,31,33,34]
Galleria mellonela Waxworm Larvae Farming Human food, model for
human diseases study [7,30,36]
Rhynchophorus ferrugineus Red palm weevil Larvae, pupae Semi-cultivation Human food [38,39]
Rhynchophorus phoenicis Palm weevil Larvae Semi-cultivation Human food [39,40]
Acheta domesticus House cricket Adult Farming Human food, pet food,
protein extraction [15,41]
Gryllus bimacalatus Mediterranean
field cricket Adult Farming Animal feed [30]
Imbrasia belina Mopane worm
(MW) Larvae
(caterpillar) Farming Human food [42]
Musca domestica Housefly Larvae Farming Animal and fish feed [43,44]
Lucilia sericata Green bottlefly Larvae(maggot) Semi-cultivation Animal and fish feed,
Medical treatment [3032]
Omphisa fuscidentalis Bamboo
caterpillar Larvae Semi-cultivation Human food [1,4]
Oecophylla smaragdina Weaver ant Adult, larvae,
pupae, eggs Semi-cultivation Human food, medicine
use [38,45]
Patanga succincta Grasshopper Adult Wild harvesting Human food [46]
Oxya spp. Grasshopper Adult Wild harvesting Human food [29]
Locusta migratoria Locust Adult, nymphs Farming, wild
harvesting
Human food, pet food and
fish bait [11,47,48]
Apis mellifera Honeybee Adult Farming,
semi-cultivation
Human food, medical
uses (honeybee venom,
propolis, royal jelly) [7,30,49]
Hermetia illucens Black soldier fly
(BSF) Larvae Farming Human food, animal feed [50]
Macrotermes spp. Termite Adult Wild harvesting Human food [51,52]
Encosternum spp. Stinkbug Adult Wild harvesting Human food [29,53]
Vespula spp. (Social) wasp Larvae Wild harvesting Human food [54,55]
Panchoda marginata Sun beetle Larvae Farming Human food, animal and
fish feed [7,56]
3. Edible Insect Species That Can Utilize Food Waste as Feed and Their Nutritional Requirements
in Mass Production
To date, around 1 million insect species have been described and classified, but the actual number
of insect species on Earth is estimated to be between 4 and 30 million. Jongema (2015) compiled
a detailed catalogue listing 2037 edible insect species [
6
], but the actual number of insect species
suitable for human food or animal feed applications is still unknown [3].
In recent years, low cost and eective diets, so called artificial diets, are used in lab and/or industry
scale in order to rear insects for various purposes (e.g., edible insects, insects as pest predators for pest
biological control etc.) [
57
59
]. Various artificial diets have been introduced for insect rearing, but even
the most promising of these is still inferior to natural nutrient sources [
60
]. The insect species most
widely farmed for food and feed purposes are mainly omnivores, which are able to utilize various
food sources and thus show broad nutritional flexibility. For this reason, their nutritional requirements
and feed rate when fed an artificial diet are dicult to determine [
30
,
61
,
62
]. Due to their nutritional
flexibility, the use of low-value food sources can be ideal for large-scale farming of edible insects [11].
A balanced diet composed of organic by-products can be as suitable for the successful growth of
mealworm species as the diets used by commercial breeders [
28
]. It has been reported that an organic
food-based diet is critical for larval growth, mass density, and colony maintenance [
63
]. Recycling of
low-quality, plant-derived waste and its conversion into a high-quality feed rich in energy, protein,
Fermentation 2019,5, 81 4 of 19
and fat can be achieved with mealworms in a relatively short time [
31
]. Moreover, the omnivorous
house cricket Acheta domesticus can be fed on a large range of organic materials, making it easy to farm
in a system producing six or seven generations per year [31].
Most studies with encouraging results regarding artificial diets based on food wastes or mixtures
of wastes have been carried out using edible mealworm (Tenebrio molitor L., Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae),
black soldier fly (Hermetia illucens, Diptera: Stratiomyidae), housefly (Musca domestica, Diptera:
Muscidae), and Cambodian cricket (Teleogryllus testaceus, Orthoptera: Gryllidae) and have used raw
food material as the insect feed [28,31,60,62,6467].
Farmed edible insects that utilize food materials and wastes during rearing are summarized in
Table 2.
Table 2. Summary of various edible insect species reared on food wastes and their characteristics.
Order Family Species Common
Name
Developmental
Stage Degraded Material Reference
Coleoptera
Tenebrionidae
Tenebrio molitor L. Mealworm Larvae
Spent grains and beer
yeast, bread remains,
biscuit remains, potato
steam peelings, maize
distillers’ dried grains
with solubles
[28]
Coleoptera
Tenebrionidae
Tenebrio molitor L. Mealworm Larvae
Mushroom spent corn
stover, highly denatured
soybean meal, spirit
distillers’ grains
[64]
Coleoptera
Tenebrionidae
Zophobas atratus Fab. Mealworm Larvae
Spent grains and beer
yeast, bread remains,
biscuit remains, potato
steam peelings, maize
distillers’ dried grains
with solubles
[28]
Coleoptera
Tenebrionidae
Alphitobius diaperinus Mealworm: Larvae
Spent grains and beer
yeast, bread remains,
biscuit remains, potato
steam peelings, maize
distillers’ dried grains
with solubles
[28]
Diptera
Stratiomyidae
Hermetia illucens Black soldier
fly Larvae
Waste plant tissues,
garden waste,
compost tea, catering
waste, food scraps
[68]
Diptera Muscidae Musca domestica Housefly Larvae Mixture of egg content,
hatchery waste, and
wheat bran [31]
Orthoptera Gryllidae Acheta domesticus House
cricket Adult
Grocery store food waste
after aerobic enzymatic
digestion, municipal
food waste
heterogeneous substrate
[41]
Orthoptera Gryllidae Teleogryllus testaceus Cambodian
field cricket Adult
Rice bran, cassava plant
tops, water spinach,
spent grain, residues
from mungbean sprout
production
[67]
In general, the major macronutrients required for insect mass production are (a) carbohydrates,
which serve as an energy pool but are also required for configuration of chitin (exoskeleton of
arthropods) [
60
], (b) lipids (mainly polyunsaturated fatty acids such as linoleic and linolenic), which
are the main structural components of the cell membrane, and also store and supply metabolic energy
during periods of sustained demands and help conserve water in the arthropod cuticle [
29
,
59
,
69
],
and (c) the amino acids leucine, isoleucine, valine, threonine, lysine, arginine, methionine, histidine,
phenylalanine, and tryptophan, which insects cannot synthesize [
70
], and tyrosine, proline, serine,
cysteine, glycine, aspartic acid, and glutamic acid, which insects can synthesize, but in insucient
quantities at high energy consumption [
61
,
70
]. The essential micronutrients in insect rearing are (a)
sterols, which insects cannot synthesize, (b) vitamins, and (c) minerals [30].
The nutrient requirements of edible insects in mass production are summarized in Table 3.
Fermentation 2019,5, 81 5 of 19
Table 3. Summary of the nutrient requirements of edible insects (adapted from [30,60]).
Macronutrients Micronutrients Minerals
Carbohydrates Lipids Proteins Sterols *** Vitamins Elements *****
Glucose *
Fructose *
Galactose *
Arabinose **
Ribose **
Xylose **
Galactose **
Maltose *
Sucrose *
Linoleic (Pfa) ***
Linolenic (Pfa) ***
Phospholipids ****
Globulins
Nucleoproteins
Lipoproteins
Insoluble proteins
Amino acids:
Leucine ***
Isoleucine ***
Valine ***
Threonine ***
Lysine ***
Arginine ***
Methionine ***
Histidine ***
Phenylalanine ***
Tryptophan ***
Tyrosine ****
(major component of
sclerotin)
Proline ****
(important during
flight initiation)
Serine ****
Cysteine ****
Glycine ****
Aspartic acid ****
Glutamic acid ****
Cholesterol
Phytosterols
(β-sitosterol,
campesterol,
stigmasterol)
Ergosterol
A: Retinol +α-and β-
carotene (Ls)
B1: Thiamin (Ws)
B2: Riboflavin (Ws)
B3: Nicotinamide (Ws)
B4: Choline (Ws)
B5: Pantothenic acid
(Ws)
B6: Pyridoxine (Ws)
B12: Cobalamine (Ws)
C: Ascorbic acid (Ls)
D: Cholecalsiferol and
Ergocalsiferol (Ls)
E: α-tocopherol (Ls)
K: Phyloquinone (Ls)
Hydrogen
Oxygen
Carbon
Nitrogen
Calcium +
Phosphorus +++
Chlorine
Potassium +++
Sulphur
Sodium +++
Magnesium +++
Iron ++
Copper +++
Zinc +++
Silicone
Iodine
Cobalt
Manganese +++
Molybdenum
Fluorine
Tin
Chromium
Selenium
Vanadium
*: Insects able to absorb and metabolize; **: Insects able to absorb but not metabolize; Pfa: Polyunsaturated fatty
acids; ***: Insects unable to synthesize; ****: Insects able to synthesize; Ws: Water-soluble; Ls: Lipid-soluble; *****:
Listed in order of importance as essential for living matter (from top down). Minerals consist of combinations of
cations and anions of elements; +++: Important for insect growth; ++: Important in enzyme pathways including
DNA synthesis; +: Important to a lesser extent, important role in muscular excitation.
Food industry organic wastes are produced in vast quantities and can be valorized for various
purposes, e.g., as biofuels, crop fertilizers, pharmaceuticals, functional foods, etc. [
25
]. The largest
quantities are generated by the fruit, vegetable, olive oil, fermentation, dairy, meat, and seafood
industries [
23
]. Food waste comprises a mixture of various food residues, e.g., bread, pastry, noodles,
rice, potatoes, meat, and vegetables [21].
Insects are much more ecient at converting feed to body weight than conventional livestock
and can be reared on organic waste streams, transforming these into high-value food and feed [
31
].
The use of food wastes in rearing edible insects is a quite new and promising approach [
7
,
11
]. For this
purpose, various artificial food waste-based diets covering the nutritional needs of farmed insects have
been proposed, without pre-treatment of the biomaterial [28,31,67] (see also Table 2).
The chemical composition and nutritional value of various wastes that have already used in insect
rearing are summarized in Table 4.
Table 4.
Summary of chemical composition of various food materials and wastes which can be used for
rearing edible insects (mainly adapted from DTU-Food database [71]).
Food * Chemical Composition Reference
Wheat bran
Total N (2.560%), protein (16.2%), available carbohydrates (24.6%), dietary
fiber (40.2%), total fat (5.3%), ash (5.4%), water (8.4%), vitamins (C, E, K1, B1,
B2, B3, B5, B6, B9), minerals and inorganics (Na, K, Ca, Mg, P, Fe, Cu, Zn, In,
Mn, Cr, Se, Mo, Co, Ni, Cd, Pb), carbohydrates (fructose, glucose, sucrose),
saturated fatty acids (C16:0, C18:0, C20:0), monounsaturated fatty acids
(C16:1 n-7, C18:1 n-9, C20:1 n-11), polyunsaturated fatty acids (C18:2 n-6,
C18:3 n-3, C20:4 n-6), amino acids (isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine,
cysteine, phenylalanine, tyrosine, threonine, tryptophan, valine, arginine,
histidine, alanine, aspartic acid, glutamic acid, glycine, proline, serine)
[71,72]
Fermentation 2019,5, 81 6 of 19
Table 4. Cont.
Food * Chemical Composition Reference
Soy flour
Total N (6.520%), protein (37.2%), available carbohydrates (20.2%), dietary
fiber (10.4%), total fat (22.2%), ash (5.1%), water (5.1%), vitamins (A,
β
-carotene, E, K1, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B9), minerals and inorganics (Na, K, Ca,
Mg, P, Fe, Cu, Z, In, Mn, Cr, Se, Ni, Hg, Cd, Pb), carbohydrates (sucrose,
starch, exoses, pentoses, uronic acids, cellulose, lignin), saturated fatty acids
(C12:0, C14:0, C16:0, C18:0, C20:0, C22:0), monounsaturated fatty acids
(C16:1 n-7, C18:1 n-9, C20:1 n-11), polyunsaturated fatty acids (C18:2 n-6,
C18:3 n-3), amino acids (isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, cysteine,
phenylalanine, tyrosine, threonine, tryptophan, valine, arginine, histidine,
alanine, aspartic acid, glutamic acid, glycine, proline, serine)
[71,73]
Spent grain
Total N (1.890%), protein (11.0%), available carbohydrates (64.3%), dietary
fiber (8.5%), total fat (4.2%), water (8.7%), vitamins (B1, B2, B3, B6, B9, E),
minerals and inorganics (Na, K, Ca, Mg, P, Fe, Cu, Zn, In, Mn, Cr, Se, Mo, Co,
Ni, Hg, Cd, Pb), amino acids (isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine,
phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, valine, arginine, histidine, alanine,
aspartic acid, glutamic acid, glycine, proline, serine)
([71,74]
Spent brewer’s yeast
Total N (1.340%),%), protein (8.4%), available carbohydrates (12.7%), dietary
fiber (6.2%), total fat (1.9%), ash (1.8%), water (69.0%), vitamins (B1, E, B2,
B3, B5, B6, B7, B9, C), minerals and inorganics (Na, K, Ca, Mg, P, Fe, Cu, Z,
In, Mn, Se, Ni, Cd), carbohydrates (mannose, β-(1,3), (1,6)-glucan,
α-(1,4)-glucan, chitin) saturated fatty acids (C12:0, C16:0, C18:0),
monounsaturated fatty acids (C16:1 n-7, C18:1 n-9), polyunsaturated fatty
acids (C18:2 n-6), amino acids (isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine,
cysteine, phenylalanine, tyrosine, threonine, tryptophan, valine, arginine,
histidine, alanine, aspartic acid, glutamic acid, glycine, proline, serine),
nucleic acids
[71,7577]
Bread remains
Total N (1.400%), protein (8.0%), available carbohydrates (48.0%), dietary
fiber (4.0%), total fat (4.3%), ash (1.8%), water (33.9%), vitamins (E, B1, B2,
B3, B5, B6, B7, B9), minerals and inorganics (Na, K, Ca, Mg, P, Fe, Cu, Z, In,
Mn, Cr, Se, Ni, Hg, As, Cd, Pb), carbohydrates (fructose, glucose, sucrose),
saturated fatty acids (C14:0, C16:0, C18:0, C20:0), monounsaturated fatty
acids (C16:1 n-7, C18:1 n-9, C20:1 n-11), polyunsaturated fatty acids (C18:2
n-6, C18:3 n-3), amino acids (isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, cysteine,
phenylalanine, tyrosine, threonine, tryptophan, valine, arginine, histidine,
alanine, aspartic acid, glutamic acid, glycine, proline, serine)
[71,78]
Potato steam peelings Starch (25%), non-starch polysaccharide (30%), acid insoluble and acid
soluble lignin (20%), protein (18%), lipids (1%), and ash (6%), [71,79]
Potato
Total N (0.324), protein (2.0%), available carbohydrates (15.9%), total fat
(0.3%), dietary fiber (1.4%), ash (0.9%), water (79.5%), vitamins (A, B1, B2, B3,
B5, B6, B7, B9, C), minerals and inorganics (Na, K, Ca, Mg, P, Fe, Cu, Zn, In,
Mn, Cr, Se, Ni, Hg, As, Cd, Pb), carbohydrates (fructose, glucose, sucrose,
starch, exoses, pentoses, uronic acids, cellulose), saturated fatty acids (C16:0,
C18:0), monounsaturated fatty acids (C16:1 n-7, C18:1 n-9), polyunsaturated
fatty acids (C18:2 n-6, C18:3 n-3), amino acids (isoleucine, leucine, lysine,
methionine, cysteine, phenylalanine, tyrosine, threonine, tryptophan, valine,
arginine, histidine, alanine, aspartic acid, glutamic acid, glycine,
proline, serine)
[80]
Dry egg whites
Total N (13.200%), protein (82.3%), available carbohydrates (6.8%), dietary
fiber (0.0%), total fat (0.0%), ash (5.1%), water (5.8%), vitamins (B1, B2, B3,
B5, B6, B7, B9, B12, D, E), minerals and inorganics (Cl, Na, K, Ca, Mg, P, Fe,
Cu, Zn, In, Mn, Cr, Se), amino acids (isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine,
cysteine, phenylalanine, tyrosine, threonine, tryptophan, valine, arginine,
histidine, alanine, aspartic acid, glutamic acid, glycine, proline, serine),
cholesterol (16 mg/100 g)
[71,81]
Rice bran
Total N (2.24%), protein (13.4%), available carbohydrates (28.7%), dietary
fiber (21.0%), total fat (0.0%), ash (10.0%), water (6.1%), vitamins (B1, B2, B3),
minerals and inorganics (Na, K, Ca, P, Fe), carbohydrates (crude fiber 11.5%),
amino acids (isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, cysteine, phenylalanine,
tyrosine, threonine, tryptophan, valine, arginine, histidine, alanine, aspartic
acid, glutamic acid, glycine, proline, serine)
[71,82]
Fermentation 2019,5, 81 7 of 19
Table 4. Cont.
Food * Chemical Composition Reference
Carrot
Total N (0.11%), protein (0.7%), available carbohydrates (5.8%), dietary fiber
(2.9%), total fat (0.4%), ash (0.7%), water (89.5%), vitamins (A,
β
-carotene, E,
K1, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9, C), minerals and inorganics (Na, K, Ca, Mg, P,
Fe, Cu, Zn, In, Mn, Cr, Se, Ni, Hg, As, Cd, Pb), carbohydrates (fructose,
glucose, sucrose, hexoses, pentoses, uronic acids, cellulose, lignin), saturated
fatty acids (C16:0, C18:0), monounsaturated fatty acids (C18:1 n-9),
polyunsaturated fatty acids (C18:2 n-6, C18:3 n-3, C20:4 n-6), amino acids
(isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, cysteine, phenylalanine, tyrosine,
threonine, tryptophan, valine, arginine, histidine, alanine, aspartic acid,
glutamic acid, glycine, proline, serine)
[71,83]
Lettuce
Total N (0.204%), protein (1.3%), available carbohydrates (0.8%), dietary
fiber (1.3%), total fat (0.4%), ash (0.8%), water (95.5%), vitamins (A,
β
-carotene, E, K1, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9, C), minerals and inorganics (Na,
K, Ca, Mg, P, Fe, Cu, Zn, In, Mn), carbohydrates (fructose, glucose, sucrose,
starch, hexoses, pentoses, uronic acids, cellulose, lignin), saturated fatty
acids (C12:0, C16:0, C18:0), monounsaturated fatty acids (C16:1 n-7, C18:1
n-9, C20:1 n-11, C22:1 n-9), polyunsaturated fatty acids (C18:2 n-6, C18:3 n-3,
C18:4 n-3, C20:4 n-6, C20:5 n-3, C22:5 n-3, C22:6 n-3), amino acids (isoleucine,
leucine, lysine, methionine, cysteine, phenylalanine, tyrosine, threonine,
tryptophan, valine, arginine, histidine, alanine, aspartic acid, glutamic acid,
glycine, proline, serine)
[71,84]
Cassava plant
Total N (0.218%), protein (1.4%), available carbohydrates (36.3%), dietary
fiber (1.8%), total fat (0.3%), ash (0.6%), water (59.7%), vitamins (A,
β
-carotene, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9, C), minerals and inorganics (Na, K, Ca,
Mg, P, Fe, Cu, Zn, In, Mn, Cr, Se, Ni, Hg, As, Cd, Pb), carbohydrates
(fructose, glucose, sucrose, starch, hexoses, pentoses, uronic acids, cellulose,
lignin), saturated fatty acids (C16:0, C18:0), monounsaturated fatty acids
(C16:1 n-7, C18:1 n-9), polyunsaturated fatty acids (C18:2 n-6, C18:3 n-3,
C20:4 n-6), amino acids (isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, cysteine,
phenylalanine, tyrosine, threonine, tryptophan, valine, arginine, histidine,
alanine, aspartic acid, glutamic acid, glycine, proline, serine)
[71,85]
Peanut oil
Total N (0.000%), protein (0.0%), available carbohydrates (27.5%), dietary
fiber (0.0%), total fat (72.5%), ash (0.0%), water (0.0%), vitamins (E,
γ-tocopherol), minerals and inorganics (Na, K, Ca, Mg, P, Fe, Cu, Zn),
saturated fatty acids (C16:0, C18:0, C20:0, C22:0, C24:0), monounsaturated
fatty acids (C16:1 n-7, C18:1 n-9, C20:1 n-11), polyunsaturated fatty acids
(C18:2 n-6, C18:3 n-3, C22:6 n-3, other fatty acids)
[71,86]
* Data refer to natural products that have not been processed or pre-treated.
4. Rearing Conditions and Insect Mass Technologies
Wild harvesting can potentially lead to depletion of natural insect species [
3
]. For a sustainable
insect farming industry, cost-eective rearing, harvesting, and processing technologies are required [
19
].
The information required for industrial-scale mass production of insects frombiowaste and agricultural
organic residues for food and feed purposes is not complete, but much research is being conducted in
this field and recent data seem very promising [
30
] (see also Table 2). The need for lower cost, more
environmental friendly, and sustainable nutrient resources for insect mass technologies will increase as
the production level increases [
30
]. In this regard, food biomass waste can comprise a potential source
of ingredients for artificial diets used in edible insect industrial production [7,11,54].
The artificial diets used in insect mass production vary from liquid to solid, depending mainly
on (a) the nutritional needs of the insect in question in terms of macronutrients, micronutrients and
minerals (see also Table 3); (b) the feeding adaptation of the insect, meaning the way that food is
processed by the mouthparts before ingestion, as these are adapted to match the feeding needs. Insect
species possessing sucking mouthparts are liquid feeders, those possessing biting mouthparts are solid
feeders, and those that possess modified sucking mouthparts, so called piercing-sucking insects, are able
to pierce the host and suck liquefied animal and/or plant tissues [
30
,
60
]; (c) the pre-manufacturing of
the artificial diet. Liquid diets can be used after encapsulation using dierent materials (paran, PVC,
Fermentation 2019,5, 81 8 of 19
polyethylene, polypropylene) to mimic artificial eggs, a treatment step needed for their containment
and presentation [
60
], while liquids and slurries can be dried and concentrated so that can be dissolved
in water or mixed with other ingredients. Semi-liquids are used in pellet or extruded form which can
be ingested by insects with biting mouthparts and also by insects with sucking mouthparts [
30
]. Solids
are presented as a feed mash with grinding and mixing of all raw materials, after pelleting of various
raw materials or by extrusion. Solids can also be encapsulated with complex coacervation technology
using proteins and polysaccharides [87].
The development of low-cost commercial diets is crucial for edible insect production at industrial
scale [
19
]. In mass production, the mechanical equipment needed in an integrated production
process, automation, mechanization, and monitoring technologies for rearing, harvesting, processing,
packaging, and delivering edible insects must also be applied, in order to reduce costs and produce
safe food products in large-scale quantities [5,19].
5. Nutritional Composition, Ingredient Characterization, and Food Functional Properties of
Edible Insect Species
Insect farming conditions, insect developmental stage, the artificial diet selected, and the
preparation and processing methods used (e.g., frying, boiling, drying) are factors that aect the
nutritional composition of the reared insects [
11
]. Dierent diets composed of various food wastes
have been reported to result in dierences in the nutritional value of mealworm larvae [
88
]. However,
most previous studies provide no details about the artificial diets and conditions used for insect rearing
or about the preparation and process stages [29,53,54].
To date, data required in INFOODS/EuroFIR recommendations concerning the nutritional value
of most common edible insect ingredients are lacking [
29
]. These data refer to protein, crude proteins,
crude lipids, available carbohydrates, moisture, dry matter, energy, vitamins, and minerals.
The nutrient content of some of the most commonly reared edible insects reared on food wastes, in
terms of crude proteins, crude lipids, available carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals, is summarized
in Table 5.
Table 5. Nutritional value of the most common edible insects reared on food materials and wastes.
Insect Species Common
Name
Develop-mental
Stage
Crude Protein
(% Dry Weight)
Lipids
(% Dry Weight)
Carbohydrates,
Vitamins, Minerals etc. General Comments Reference
Tenebrio molitor Yellow
mealworm Larvae 70–76% 6–12% c.a. 10%
Leucine, lysine, methionine +cysteine,
threonine, and valine were the limiting
amino acids comparing with
FAO/WHO requirements.
Major fatty acids were linoleic acid
(C18:2, 30–38%), oleic acid (C18:1,
24–34%), and palmitic acid (C16:0,
14–17%).
[66]
Tenebrio molitor Yellow
mealworm Larvae 46.9–48.6% 18.9–27.6% -
Mealworm species can be grown
successfully on diets composed of
organic by-products.
Diet aects mealworm growth,
development, and feed
conversion eciency.
Diets high in yeast-derived protein
appear favorable
with respect to reduced larval
development time, reduced
mortality, and increasedweight gain.
[28]
*Zophobas atratus
Fab.
Mealworm
Larvae 34.2–42.5% 32.8–42.5% - [28]
*Alphitobius
diaperinus
Mealworm
Larvae 64.3–65.0% 13.4–21.8% - [28]
*Acheta domesticus House
cricket Adult 10.2–28.6% 2.2–12.0%
Carbohydrates (as crude
fiber): 13.2–28.9%
Minerals: -
Vitamins: -
It is possible, using very simple means,
to rear local field crickets at ambient
temperature in Cambodia.
Agricultural and food industry
by-products tested here also have
potential for use as cricket feed, alone
or in combination.
[67]
Fermentation 2019,5, 81 9 of 19
Table 5. Cont.
Insect Species Common
Name
Develop-mental
Stage
Crude Protein
(% Dry Weight)
Lipids
(% Dry Weight)
Carbohydrates,
Vitamins, Minerals etc. General Comments Reference
Acheta domesticus House
cricket Adult 16% - -
Crickets fed the solid
filtrate from food waste processed at
an industrial scale via enzymatic
digestion were able
to reach a harvestable size and achieve
feed and protein eciencies.
Crickets reared on waste substrates of
sucient quality might be the most
promising path for producing crickets
economically
[41]
Acheta domesticus House
cricket Adult 15.6% ±8.1% 4.56% ±2.15%
Carbohydrates: -
Minerals: Na, Fe, Zn,
Ca, I
Vitamins: B12, B2
Data show considerable
variation within insect species [29]
The research field concerning characterization of food functional properties of the most common
edible insects (e.g., amino acid and lipid composition, foam ability and foam stability, water absorption
capacity (WAC), fat absorption capacity (FAC), protein solubility, microstructure and color, rheological
properties, etc.) is quite new. Some data is available, mainly for yellow mealworm, silkworm, house
cricket, and housefly [54,8991].
The food functional properties characterized for the most commonly reared edible insects are
summarized in Table 6.
Table 6.
Ingredient characterization and food functional properties of most common edible
insect species.
Insect Species Common Name Developmental
Stage Characterization of Food Properties Reference
Bombyx mori Silkworm Pupae Amino acid analysis, lipid determination [89]
Tenebrio molitor Yellow mealworm Larvae
Amino acid composition (ion exchange
chromatography), protein quality (color, protein
content, and molecular weight), molecular weight
distribution of the insect protein fractions
(SDS-PAGE), foam ability and foam stability,
rheological properties
[90]
Tenebrio molitor Yellow mealworm Larvae
Amino acid composition, water absorption capacity
(WAC), fat absorption capacity (FAC), protein
solubility, microstructure and color, rheological
properties
[91]
Acheta domesticus House cricket Adult
Amino acid composition (ion exchange
chromatography), protein quality (color, protein
content, and molecular weight), molecular weight
distribution of the insect protein fractions
(SDS-PAGE), foam ability and foam stability,
rheological properties
[90]
Musca domestica Housefly Pupae
Moisture, protein, fat, ash, acid detergent fiber
(ADF), neutral detergent fiber (NDF), minerals,
amino acids, fatty acids, vitamins, and selected
carotenoid determination
[92]
Apis mellifera Honeybee Eggs, larvae, adult Determination of water content, crude fiber
(structural carbohydrates), fat, free nitrogen extract
and mineral salts, crude proteins, Vitamin B2 [93]
Hermetia illucens Black soldier fly Larvae
Moisture, protein, fat, ash, acid detergent fiber
(ADF), neutral detergent fiber (NDF), minerals,
amino acids, fatty acids, vitamins, and selected
carotenoid determination
[92]
6. Fermentation Process in Edible Insect Chain Production
The fermentation process is applied during the edible insect production to the following stages:
(a) Valorization of food waste via fermentation and then use of edible insects, especially of the
black soldier fly (BSF) [
94
,
95
]. The use of pre-fermentation can be performed for the waste stabilization
and the food safety increasement. Moreover, the pre-fermentation can enhance the digestibility and
bioavailability of nutrients to the insect larvae as most nutrients present in agricultural residue or
byproducts are found in insoluble form [
94
]. The solid residues produced by processing of food waste
via microaerobic fermentation (MF) and by black soldier fly larvae (BSF) have been proposed as soil
fertilizers for plant growth [95].
Fermentation 2019,5, 81 10 of 19
(b) Use of fermentation by-products and food wastes as ingredients of artificial diets used for edible
insect production. The edible mealworm species Tenebrio molitor L., Zophobas atratus Fab. and Alphitobius
diaperinus Panzer were grown successfully on diets composed of organic by-products originating from
beer brewing, bread/cookie baking, potato processing, and bioethanol production [
28
]. The Hermetia
illucens edible insect, commonly named black soldier fly (BSF), was used for the biodegradation of
kitchen residues, grass, sewage sludge, and separated solid material from biogas plants [
68
]. House
crickets (Acheta domesticus) have been reared on diets based on food waste processed at an industrial
scale via enzymatic digestion [41].
(c) Fermentation of the produced edible insect orders to increase the product’s shelf-life and
minimize the microbial risks for the consumers associated with edible insect consumption [
96
,
97
].
Successful acidification and eectiveness in product’s safeguarding shelf-life and safety was achieved
by the control of Enterobacteria and bacterial spores after lactic fermentation of flour/water mixtures
with 10% or 20% powdered roasted mealworm larvae [
97
]. Techniques such as drying, acidifying, and
lactic fermentation can preserve edible insects and insect products without the use of a refrigerator [
16
].
7. Legislation, Food Safety, and Potential Hazards Associated with the Edible Insect Food-to-Food
Production Chain
The legislation concerning edible insects for food and feed varies worldwide. Current EU
legislation is quite strict, with the application of two regulations: (a) Regulation 2015/2283 (European
Food Safety Authority, EFSA) refers to the use of edible insects as food. Since these were not consumed
in the EU before March 1997, they were initially considered ‘novel foods’ [
98
], while in the reformed
regulations they are not specifically mentioned as novel foods [
99
]. However, if they are intended
to be sold on the EU market, they require authorization from the EFSA. (b) Regulation EU 999/2001
refers to the use of edible insects as feed [
100
]. According to the International Platform on Insects
for Food and Feed (IPIFF), only purified insect fat and hydrolyzed insect proteins are allowed to be
used as feed for livestock, while non-hydrolyzed insect proteins can currently only be used and sold
as pet food and for fur animals feeding while insects derived proteins are not allowed for use in pig
or poultry feed [
101
]. The recent EU regulation No 2017/893 authorizes the use of insect proteins
originating from seven insect species: Common Housefly (Musca domestica), Black Soldier Fly (Hermetia
illucens), Yellow Mealworm (Tenebrio molitor), Lesser Mealworm (Alphitobius diaperinus), House Cricket
(Acheta domesticus), Banded Cricket (Gryllodes sigillatus), and Field Cricket (Gryllus assimilis), as feed in
aquaculture [99].
Despite the strict regulatory framework, some EU countries are moving rapidly towards approval
of edible insects for food and feed purposes [
102
]. The Netherlands tolerates the sale of edible insects
included in the ‘List of Edible Insects of the World’ [
6
], while in Belgium the Agence F
é
d
é
rale pour
la S
é
curit
é
de la Chaîne Alimentaire (AFSCA) is carrying out a risk analysis on the sale of edible
mealworms, crickets, and locusts as novel foods for the Belgian market [
102
,
103
]. In Germany, the EU
regulation referring to processed animal proteins (PAPs) is interpreted such that insects PAPs are not
allowed as feed (not even in aquaculture), as insects are not slaughtered, but this feed ban does not
apply to live insects. Therefore a proposal has been made to Deutsche Landwirtschaftsgesellschaft
(DLG) to list live insects as a direct animal feed ingredient [
103
]. In the United Kingdom the law is
looser, allowing insects to be sold as food, but this will change relatively soon with a compulsory
application procedure required for classification of insect-based food products [
103
]. In Switzerland,
edible insects require authorization from the Federal Oce of Food Safety and Veterinary Services
(FFSVO) if they are intended to be sold on the open market [
103
], but recently FFSVO followed
Belgium’s policy in allowing particular insect species to be sold for food on the Swiss market [102].
In the US, the legislation on edible insects is also strict and more complex. The main authorities
are the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which regulates the industry and coordinates closely
with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), and the Animal and Plant Health Inspection
Service (APHIS) [
102
]. Concerning food insect-based products, these must conform to the standard
Fermentation 2019,5, 81 11 of 19
practices of all other US foods, including Salmonella and E. coli testing and, as edible insects are
considered food additives, they must follow FDA regulations as described in the Federal Food, Drug,
and Cosmetics Act (FFDCA) for Food Additives [
104
]. All producers of edible insect products must also
conform to all FDA manufacturing procedures, known as Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) ([
103
].
In Canada, insect-based foods are considered ‘novel’ and the legislation is complex, as the
food safety and public health standards are set by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA),
which falls under Health Canada, while novel food safety assessments are conducted under the Food
Directorate [
103
]. In Australia and New Zealand, the food safety and hygiene standards are set by
Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ), in which edible insects are classified as ‘novel foods’
(non-traditional foods), as in EU regulations, and require an assessment of public health and safety
issues before their commercialization, unless they are prohibited from sale [102,103].
In Asia, Thailand appears to be a pioneer and one of the most progressive and innovative countries
in edible insect mass production, collection, processing, transport, and marketing of cricket (with most
farms being medium- or large-scale enterprises) and palm weevil larvae, but also weaver ants, bamboo
caterpillars, and grasshoppers, which are collected from the wild or are harvested seasonally [
38
].
In China, despite its population and economic growth, mass production of edible insects has not yet
been established [102].
In Africa, collaborations between African and European companies are being developed on value
chain production in rearing, processing, distribution, and consumption of edible insects [103].
Industrial mass production of edible insects for food and feed is associated with the hazards
involved in any food production chain, which can mainly be classified into heavy metals, mycotoxins,
pesticide residues, and pathogens [
16
]. During the relevant processes in an insect-based food chain,
the associated hazards concerning food safety are of two origins: (a) specific to the species and (b)
related to rearing, processing practices, preservation, and/or transport conditions. They are classified
into (a) chemical, (b) physical, (c) allergen, and (d) microbial [98,105].
The data concerning the potential hazards associated with a food-to-food production chain based
on most common edible insects are summarized in Table 7.
Table 7. Hazards associated with food-to-food edible insect production.
General
Hazard Specific Hazard Substance Insect Problem Reference
Chemical
Pesticides/fungicides Organophosphorus pesticides
(malathion, sumithion) Locust Toxic, carcinogenic [106]
Persistent organic
pollutants Polybrominated diphenyl ether
(PBDE) House cricket Bioaccumulative and toxic [107]
Heavy metals
Cd Mealworm larvae
(Tenebrio molitor)Toxic, carcinogenic [108110]
As Agrotis infusa moth
(Lepidoptera) Toxic, carcinogenic [111]
Ld Cricket Toxic, carcinogenic [105,112]
Pb, Zn, Cu, Cd Insect larvae(not specified) Toxic, carcinogenic
Antibiotics Chloramphenicol Silkworm (Bombyx mori)Prohibited use in animal
production [113]
Insect toxic substances
(for defense or repellent
purposes, manufactured by
the insect itself or
accumulated by the insect
via its environment or food)
Quinones Bombardier beetle - [105]
Cyanogenic toxic
compounds (linamarin or
lotaustralin) Butterfly - [105]
Melanization process because of
the appearance of toxic products
Larvae of Galleria mellonella
infected by a fungus - [105]
Phenolic compounds:
benzoquinone
Tenebrionidae:
Ulomoides dermesetoides,
flour
beetles (adults)
Tribolium confusum and
Tribolium castaneum
Cytotoxic against the
human lung carcinoma
epithelial cell line A-549,
DNA damage,
possible carcinogen
[98]
Venom
(with bristles) Coleoptera
Larvae of Trogoderma spp.
Envenomation by dietary
route, intestinal trauma due
to the bristles found
on the insect,
ulcerative colitis
[105]
Antinutritional substances Hydrocyanic acid Yam beetle (Heteroligus meles) Anoxia, highly toxic [114]
Tannins
Yam beetle (Heteroligus meles),
ant, termite, cricket,
Zonocerus variegatus
(grasshopper)
Protein precipitation, toxic [114116]
Fermentation 2019,5, 81 12 of 19
Table 7. Cont.
General
Hazard Specific Hazard Substance Insect Problem Reference
Physical
Foreign bodies Materials from the processes as
with any other
processed food -Choking, injury, toxic, pain,
allergy [105]
Insect parts Sting, sharp rostrums, pines,
coarse hairs, cuticles, wings -Choking, asphyxia, pain,
allergy [102]
Allergen
Insect colorants Carmine dye Cochineal insects (Dactylopius
coccus
Costa, Coccus cacti L.)
Anaphylaxis, urticarial,
erythematous
eruption [98]
Insect proteins Lentil pest proteins Lentil pests (Bruchus lentis) Infestation [117]
Cross-reactive proteins:
tropomyosin and arginine
kinase Mealworm (Tenebrio molitor L.) Allergic shock [118]
Insect enzymes - Caterpillars (Lophocampa caryae)
Drooling, diculty
swallowing,
pain, and shortness of
breath
[98]
Insect allergens Venom Bee, wasp, hornet Anaphylactic shock, pain [105]
Chitin Various edible insect species Allergic reaction [105]
Microbial
Parasitics Human protozoan parasites Black soldier fly larvae
(Hermetia illucens)Intestinal myiases [119]
Human protozoan parasites Cockroaches and some Diptera Gastrointestinal diseases,
toxoplasmoses [120]
Bacteria
Salmonella
Shigella
Vibrio spp.
E. coli
Yesrinia
eneterocolitica
Campylobacter
Listeria monocytogenes
Clostridium
perfrigens
Yellow meal beetle
(Tenebrio molitor)
Desert locust
(Schistocerca gregaria)
Silkmoth
(Bombyx mori)
Cricket
(Acheta domesticus)
Whole locust
(Locusta migratoria)
Salmonellosis
Shigellosis
Vibriosis
Diarrhea
Yesriniosis
Campylobacteriosis
Listeriosis
Clostridial myonecrosis
[121123]
Fungi
Aspergillus, Penicillium, Fusarium,
Cladosporium,Phycomycetes - Mycotoxins [98,105]
Non-conventional
transmissible agents
(NCTA)
Prions Sarcophaga carnaria pupae Scrapie in hamsters [105]
Prion proteins Fly larvae, mites Scrapie (sheep), mad cow
disease (cattle) [124]
8. Edible Insect Rearing Using Food Wastes: Towards Green and Sustainable Food Waste
Management
The organic wastes generated in food industry processes are huge in volume and numerous
in type [
21
,
125
]. Household food streams also comprise a significant quantity of waste that is not
exploited but landfilled, causing environmental damage [
126
]. In recent years, food waste management
has attracted much attention, as these waste products can be valorized with green technologies in
a sustainable way [
127
,
128
] for the production of renewable chemicals, biomaterials, and biofuels [
129
].
In recent years, more and more consumers from the USA and various European countries, like
Netherlands and Belgium, adopted the entomophagy trend as accepted [130,131].
The utilization of food wastes for edible insect rearing for food and feed seems a promising
approach [
16
] and some of the most common edible insects have already been reared on food wastes
with encouraging results (see Table 2). Regarding crickets reared on various food waste streams in
a controlled temperature and relative humidity greenhouse, with pre-analyzed ratios of feed substrates
(moisture content, total N, crude protein content, acid detergent fiber content, crude fat content, ash
content) in order to assess their feed quality, the biomass accumulation was strongly influenced by the
quality of the diet [
41
]. Regarding the rearing of three edible mealworm species (Tenebrio molitor L.,
Zophobas atratus Fab., and Alphitobius diaperinus Panzer) on food industry organic by-products, the
eects of dietary composition on feed conversion eciency and mealworm crude protein and fatty acid
profile were assessed, indicating that larval protein content was not influenced by diet composition
while larval fat composition was aected by the used diet to a certain extent [
28
]. The substitution of
diets comprising of mixed grains with agro-food industry by-products can lower the cost of commercial
mealworm rearing [
64
]. During an experimental design for rearing of black soldier flies on various
food waste, the weight reduction of rested waste materials was determined, indicating the ability of
the black soldier fly to degrade food and plant organic waste [68].
The eect of larval density on food utilization during mealworm T. molitor rearing on a determined
mixture of food materials was evaluated, thus indicating that although the space considerations in
Fermentation 2019,5, 81 13 of 19
insect mass rearing are important in reducing production costs, crowding larvae to save space may be
counterproductive. Additionally, it was demonstrated that increasing larval density impacts negatively
on the productivity resulting in a reducing eciency of food conversion linearly, higher food expenses,
and lower biomass production [63].
However, in the most up-to-date experimental trials, the artificial diets, the rearing conditions, the
nutritional value of the reared edible insects on food wastes, the yield (in terms of protein, fat content,
chitin, etc.), the quality, and also the cost-eciency of each rearing technique are not determined.
Additionally, in none of the referred technologies (see Table 2) is a technical and economical evaluation
presented. In addition to this, the up-to-date trials have been applied with simple food mixtures of
wastes which in many cases the proportion, chemical composition of the used food materials and
wastes and the conditions of the feeding substrate (temperature, humidity, microbial stability, etc.) are
not referred, thus resulting in a not standardized insect mass rearing method and technology. That,
in the case of the valorization of household food wastes is very critical as they consist of a heterogeneous
substrate of various food material [
41
] and the compilation of a standardized artificial diet based on
this appears to be complicated. The compilation of an artificial diet based on simpler food industry
mixtures of wastes (e.g., spent grain), seems easier and eective [
28
]. Finally, clinical trials of reared
insects on food materials and wastes have not been performed in humans and animals until now.
9. Conclusions
Edible insects could provide a solution to meeting future increasing demand for animal-based
protein. In addition, the sustainability of the food industry sector could be improved through the use
of food wastes as new substrates or dietary components in large-scale processes rearing edible insects
for human food and animal feed purposes. This bioconversion could also contribute significantly to
reducing climate change and the environmental impacts of food and feed production. The first trials on
feeding insects with food wastes have produced encouraging results. Prospective candidates for this
purpose are the black soldier fly, which has also been tested for municipal organic waste management
with very good results, mealworms, houseflies, and house crickets.
Although there are some promising experimental results on the valorization of food wastes
for edible insect rearing, further research is needed on the creation of artificial diets based on food
by-products for edible insect mass production, isolation, and characterization of the nutrient content of
reared insects, techno-economical evaluation of used technology, food-to-food chain safety control
evaluation, and life cycle assessments of farmed insect species, in order to enable establishment of
a modern insect-based food industry. Additionally, the use of various fermentation by-products
(e.g., yeast, bacteria, micro-algae, etc.) as potential materials for rearing edible insects, has been studied
a little and not suciently, and further research on the combination of fermentation techniques with
edible insect rearing technologies is proposed.
Author Contributions:
Writing—Original draft, preparation, creation and presentation of the published work, V.V.
Funding: This research received no external funding
Conflicts of Interest: The authors declare no conflict of interest
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... Population growth, increasing demand for proteins and a rising prevalence towards lactose sensitivity and gluten intolerance have fuelled the demand for insects as a food source at a rapid pace in the past few years (Research and Markets, 2018a). The insect sector contributes to sustainable circular agriculture through bio-converting wastes and side-streams, reducing environmental contamination and minimising climate change and biodiversity loss (Boukid et al., 2021;Lange and Nakamura, 2021a;Moruzzo et al., 2021;Varelas, 2019), thereby contributing to the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) (United Nations, 2015). Until recently, most insect farms were small-scale productions (Adams et al., 2021;Scala et al., 2020). ...
... In Pacific Asia, China, Thailand, Japan and the Republic of Korea are the main markets of foods containing edible insects (Table 5). Cricket farming is one of the most substantial economic activities in the region, owing to the great progress in insect production chains, strong and favourable market demand (Varelas, 2019) and exports to Europe (Graphical Research, 2018). ...
... If there is no such history, products are considered novel, and the legislation is complex since it is governed under the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), Health Canada and the Food Directorate. Similarly, in the USA, the main authorities for the legislation of edible insects are the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which regulates the industry and coordinates closely with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), and the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS)(Varelas, 2019). ...
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... The pH also affects microbial activity in the composting process and is among the key elements of the composting process. According to various researchers, the initial pH level following the setup of the composting trials may range from approximately 6.0 to 6.5 [29]. The pH increased from 5.0 ± 0.1 to 7.7 ± 0.0, which was carried on by the efficient breakdown of organic acids [30]. ...
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... The inclusion of organic side-streams and wastes with low or zero economic value can mitigate the cost of insect feed (Gasco et al., 2020;Varelas, 2019). Agricultural farming and agro-industrial systems produce a huge amount of waste and by-products, which constitute a largely untapped pool of valuable resources suitable as insect substrates (FAO, 2013). ...
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The global demand for animal protein will continue to increase in the coming years. In order to meet this growing demand and to move towards sustainable nutrition, insects appear to be a good alternative to traditionally produced animal protein. The acceptance of insects as an alternative protein source is still low among Western consumers. This systematic literature review reveals the extent to which people are willing to eat insects in Europe, as well as which influential factors have already been examined and which strategies to increase acceptance are promising. Further research is required to better understand how insects could be made more attractive to the Western market. However, it remains to be seen whether insects will find a place in the diet of Western consumers.
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Compared to their vertebrate counterparts in traditional husbandry, insects are extremely efficient at converting organic matter into animal protein and dietary energy. For this reason, insects for food and feed show great potential as an environmentally friendly choice in future food systems. However, to obtain a true assessment of this, more information is needed about the production systems. Currently, only six studies applying the life cycle assessment (LCA) method to insect production systems have been published. The studies are heterogenous and thus difficult to compare. The aim of this paper was to establish a versatile reference framework that would allow for the selection of standardized settings for LCA applications in insect production systems, taking both the peculiarity of each system and the latest developments in food LCA into account. It is recommended that future LCAs of insect production systems take the following into account: (1) clear definition of the insect species and life stages included in the LCA, (2) use of at least two of the following types of functional units: nutritional, mass, or economic-based, (3) collection of empirical data in situ (e.g., on farms/production sites), (4) comparative analysis where production systems produce products that are realistic alternatives to the insect species under investigation, (5) inclusion of additional or previously unconsidered unit processes, such as processing and storage and waste management, and (6) use of a wide range of impact categories, especially climate change, resource consumption, nutrient enrichment potential, acidification potential, and impacts on land and water consumption in order to allow for comparison between studies.