The quest for new proteins: insects for animal feed

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Insect meal for shrimp: New insights

New studies in white leg shrimp (L. vannamei) showed that insect meal boosts weight gain, lowers feed conversion ratio and increases the defence mechanisms against EMS.

Earlier studies by the French company, Ynsect, already demonstrated the effect of its insect meal product* (hereafter called insect meal) in juvenile rainbow trout, compared to a super prime fish meal.

The trials with the white leg shrimp were done in cooperation with Kasetsart University (Bangkok, Thailand). The control diet contained 25% fish meal (FM) and a total of 5 different diets with increasing rates of inclusion of insect meal as a replacement for the FM, which were designed with iso-nutritive contents.

Increased weight gain by over 33%

It was shown that no significant difference was assessed in the palatability test between the diets. The T5 diet (100% FM replacement by insect meal increased weight gain by 21% and final body weight by 12.4% after 8 weeks of feeding. However, the best results were found for the 10.3% insect meal inclusion in the diet (50% FM replacement): an increase by 33.7% in weight gain and by 24% in final body weight after 8 weeks of feeding. The FCR decreased significantly by up to 25%. The apparent digestibility of proteins and lipids was above 97.4%.

Immune stimulating effect

A challenge test was performed with a frequent pathogen in aquaculture (Vibrio parahemolyticus), responsible for the well-known Early Mortality Syndrome (EMS). After 10 days, the survival rate reached 90% in the diet with 50% FM replacement by insect meal compared to 56.7% in the control diet. Mortality could be observed directly from 5% insect meal inclusion. The mortality was divided by up to 4, which is due to the patented, bacteriostatic effect of insect meal and the constant increase of the phenol oxidase activity (up to +400% in the diet with 100% FM replacement by the insect meal). Since the shrimp does not have an acquired immune system, this patented immuno-stimulant property is very promising.

Promise for poultry, piglets and salmon

Unpublished trials also showed that the insect meal had an significant impact on growth, well-being and the health of poultry (and mice). At the same time, Ynsect is launching new trials this year on the Atlantic salmon, on different marine species such as the European seabass (Dicentrarchus labrax), the red seabream, and even on piglets. The inclusion of mealworm oil will also be tested in the grow-out phase of rainbow trout.

*TMP, Tenebrio molitor defatted protein meal.

Find out more about some of the protein alternatives for soy that are currently seen as promising for livestock and fish diets.


  • fu wen jiang

    Very happy to see such experimental data
    It is nice to be able to meet such excellent peers

  • Balvinder Singh

    thanks for share such an important information with us. from where you collect such a wonderful data?

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  • Philippe Boeing

    I am an aquaculture specialist with 45 years experience in shrimp, fish and bivalves. I would like to ask for the reference to the study you quote so as to add it to a published data base of actual trials with insect meal feeds on aquatic species.

  • Dallas Weaver

    I also would like to obtain a link to the actual study with the full analysis of the compositions. The details are critical for diet formulations.

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  • alice taylor taylor

    I would like more information about this, because it is very nice., Thanks for sharing.

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