Black Soldier Fly meal proves valuable in shrimp diets

A recent study has shown the potential for commercially-farmed insects to replace traditional animal feed ingredients, such as fishmeal. Photo: Nutrition Technologies
A recent study has shown the potential for commercially-farmed insects to replace traditional animal feed ingredients, such as fishmeal. Photo: Nutrition Technologies

A recent trial set out to determine the effect of replacing anchovy fishmeal with Black Soldier Fly meal in whiteleg shrimp diets. The results revealed that not only was the Black Soldier Fly meal more cost-effective, but the shrimp performed better, too.

According to Nutrition Technologies, the company headquartered in Singapore and which conducted the study in Vietnam, “This demonstrates the clear potential for commercially-farmed insects to replace traditional animal feed ingredients, such as fishmeal, which are commonly seen as unsustainable.”

Insects becoming increasingly popular as animal feed

When it comes to animal feed, the insect protein sector has gained increasing attention over recent years as the livestock and aquaculture sectors seek new sources of protein as an important feed ingredient. Nutrition Technologies notes that the sector has seen investments totalling nearly US$1 billion to date, to accelerate the replacement of fishmeal with insect meals, including Black Soldier Fly meal. Insects, it says, can be raised on food waste and have a far lower impact on the environment.

Black Soldier Fly meal fed to shrimp

The purpose of the trial, which was conducted earlier this year using 1,400 whiteleg shrimp, was to find the optimum inclusion rate of Black Soldier Fly meal to replace anchovy fishmeal with minimal impact to cost.

In the trial, treatments using Black Soldier Fly meal had more desirable results than the control with the best results coming from a diet that had a 25% fishmeal replacement inclusion (a total 6.6% Black Soldier Fly meal). This led to a 14% higher survival rate, 17% higher live yield and a better feed conversion rate of 20% when compared to the control diet.

“The inclusion of Nutrition Technologies’ Black Soldier Fly meal in this treatment increased the total cost of the diet by 3.3%, but due to the improved performance, resulted in an overall shrimp feed that was 14.4% better value for money,” the company reported.

Black Soldier Fly meal

The Black Soldier Fly meal used in this trial was made in Malaysia and the insects were reared on 100% fruit and vegetable food wastes, which otherwise would have been disposed of in landfills. The insects were reared and processed in just over a week.

Tom Berry, co-CEO at Nutrition Technologies: “It is important to take into consideration what all these results mean to the new insect-sector as a whole – the excellent FCR and survival rates show that insect meal is not just an alternative protein, but a better protein in terms of performance and environmental benefits.”

Berkhout
Natalie Berkhout Freelance journalist