Mealworm Larvae Production Systems: Management Scenarios

  • Frédéric Maillard
  • Catherine Macombe
  • Joel Aubin
  • Hedi Romdhana
  • Samir MezdourEmail author


This chapter highlights a part of the work carried out within the framework of the DESIRABLE project (“DESIgning the Insect bioRefinery to contribute to a more sustainABLE agro-food industry”), funded by the French National Research Agency (ANR). Here, our aim is to present original research results to operators willing to implement insect-based value-chains for feed, and to decision-makers eager to understand the main related stakes. Our tasks focused on the practical organization of mealworm larvae (T. molitor) raising and processing, in middle-sized (about 400 tons of larvae per year) and very large-sized (about 2000 tons per year) processing systems. The objective was to monitor health hazards and to organize production chains in the best way possible, in order to make human operations smooth and efficient, while accounting for the physiological needs of insects. In this chapter, we have designed in detail relevant insect “group management” for middle-sized farming systems, some being focused on farrow-to-wean stage, and others specialized in insect fattening. We highlight improvement avenues, which would deserve additional developments in the future. For very large-sized production systems, we suggest adequate group management, and we identify the technical difficulties which hamper the setting-up of such huge integrated systems, to date. We present how we have established three different kinds of processes for an annual production of 10,000 tons, from larvae to flour. We also present the features of intermediate by-products, by generating data evaluating the flows of energy and matter, thus leading the way towards a possible economic feasibility. We raise some remaining questions to be explored. We also provide directions for environmental and economic evaluation. These results show the way for future scientific investigations, in accordance with sound social concerns.


Tenebriomolitor Insect rearing Farm Insect bio-refinery Flour 



This work received support by the French National Research Agency (ANR-12-ALID-0001) through its DESIRABLE project (Designing an insect biorefinery to contribute to a more sustainable agro-food industry).


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Frédéric Maillard
    • 1
  • Catherine Macombe
    • 1
  • Joel Aubin
    • 2
  • Hedi Romdhana
    • 3
  • Samir Mezdour
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.IRSTEA, UMR ITAP, Groupement de Montpellier, Domaine de LavaletteMontpellier Cedex 5France
  2. 2.INRA, UMR1069, Sol Agro et hydrosystème SpatialisationRennesFrance
  3. 3.AgroParisTech, UMR1145 Ingénierie Procédés AlimentsMassyFrance

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