A project to develop insect-derived feed protein that could help replace expensive soya bean meal and fishmeal in poultry and pig diets has been announced by AB Agri parent company of ABN.
The project involves nutritionists, biochemists and entomologists, combining the expertise within ABN with that of scientists at the Food and Environment Research Agency (Fera).
Initially evaluated in poultry, insect larvae will be grown on organic waste materials, then processed for use in animal feed.
"As a bonus, the organic waste substrate is reduced in mass by about 50%, and can be used as a valuable fertiliser."
"With global protein supply currently struggling to keep up with demand, and protein prices sky-rocketing this year as a result, there is a real need to develop new, sustainable alternatives," explained ABN technical director Angela Booth. "This project is an exciting opportunity to see if the highly digestible protein in insect larvae could help meet that need.
In addition to overcoming the technical production challenges, a strong focus will be placed on evaluating the feed's nutritional value and its suitability for use as an animal feed, especially in relation to consumer acceptability.
The aim is to have a viable pilot scale production system up and running by the end of the three-year project, which is jointly funded by AB Agri and the Technology Strategy Board.