March 01, 2016

01/03/2016: Feed of the future?

First published in Milling and Grain, January 2016

Currently, Europe’s high demand for feed protein is largely met through imported soya. Around 80 percent of crop proteins per year are imported, with 60 percent used for livestock feed.
At the same time, per-capita meat consumption is increasing in developing countries. To address this growing demand for meat, novel and additional sources of protein for animal feed must be identified.

For generations, insects have been a valuable source of protein for human consumption across continents other than Europe. With increasing demand for food worldwide, particularly meat and fish, insects also have the potential to be utilised as a natural ingredient in high-protein animal feed. They are far cheaper and require fewer resources to rear than traditional sources.

For the past four years, the EC-funded project PROteINSECT has been evaluating insects as a novel source of protein for animal feed, whilst ensuring that methodologies are sustainable, safe and economically viable.

The project has 12 partners from seven countries across Europe, Africa and Asia and is coordinated by Fera Science Ltd in the United Kingdom. The project is investigating the use of fly larvae, fed on a range of organic waste materials, as a protein source. There is already considerable expertise in this area in Mali, Ghana and China, and PROteINSECT has connected with partners in these countries. The project will close in April this year.

Dr Elaine Fitches from FERA Science Ltd, Co-ordinator of the PROteINSECT global consortium, said at the project’s launch in 2012, “The potential of insects as a source of valuable protein has been recognised by scientists for a number of years. With expertise in entomology and food safety, [Fera Science Ltd] is ideally placed to lead the evaluation of insects as a sustainable source of protein in animal feed.”

Read the full article in Milling and Grain HERE.             

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