Importance of Insects for Use as Animal Feed in Low-Income Countries

  • Syrine ChaalalaEmail author
  • Achille Leplat
  • Harinder Makkar


Insects provide an alternative sustainable source of protein to the growing population, as well as to the animals in the low-income world. The depletion of resources linked with the increased demand for animal products due to growing population and fast-growing economies of the low-income countries make insects a sustainable alternative to fish and soybean meal for the livestock and aquaculture sectors. The insect meal market has a great potential for innovation. Growth of alternative protein sources is poised to accelerate, potentially claiming up to a third of the protein market by 2054, profoundly affecting agriculture, food technology, and end products. Insect meal, made largely from larvae, is rich in high quality protein (45–68% dry matter basis), has a good amino profile and high digestibility. This new resource could substitute soybean meal and fishmeal in animal and fish diets. Such livestock farming has the potential to reduce importation dependency in low-income countries and boost the local and participatory economy. Small scale farms can strongly contribute to the improvement of small farmers’ livelihood by not only generating an additional source of income, but also alleviating the dependency on currently marketed animal feed, whose prices have quintupled in the past 15 years. With a low initial investment required in equipment, space and water-resource, smallholder farmers can contribute to the development of their local economies and sustainable development of their regions, aligning with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).


  1. Arong G, Imandeh G, Utsu AA, Sha KK (2011) The influence of food type on larval growth in Musca domestica and Lucilia sericata (Diptera) in Calabar, Nigeria. World J Sci Technol 1(4):73–77Google Scholar
  2. Banks IJ, Gibson WT, Cameron M (2014) Growth rates of black soldier fly larvae fed on fresh human faces and their implication for improving sanitation. Tropical Med Int Health 19(1):14–22CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Barnard DR, Harms RH, Sloan DR (1998) Biodegradation of poultry manure by house fly (Diptera: Muscidae). Environ Entomol 27(3):600–605. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Barry T (2004) Evaluation of the economic, social, and biological feasibility of bioconverting food wastes with the black soldier fly (Hermetia illucens). Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Texas, August 2004, 176 ppGoogle Scholar
  5. Diener S, Zurbrügg C, Tockner K (2009) Conversion of organic material by black soldier fly larvae: establishing optimal feeding rates. Waste Manag Res 27:603–610. CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. EFSA Scientific Committee (2015) Risk profile related to production and consumption of insects as food and feed. EFSA J 13(10):4257CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Ekesi S, Mohamed SA (2011) Mass rearing and quality control parameters for tephritid fruit flies of economic importance in Africa. In: Akyar I (ed) Wide spectra of quality control. InTech. Google Scholar
  8. El Boushy AR (1991) House fly pupae as poultry manure converters for animal feed: a review. Bioresour Technol 38(1):45–49. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Engel P, Moran NA (2013) The gut microbiota of insects – diversity in structure and function. FEMS Microbiol Rev 37(5):699–735. CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. Erens J, Es van S, Haverkort F, Kapsomenou E, Luijben A (2012) Large-scale insect rearing in relation to animal welfare. Master’s Thesis, Wageningen URGoogle Scholar
  11. FAO (2011) World livestock 2011- livestock in food security. FAO, RomeGoogle Scholar
  12. Fatchurochim S, Geden CJ, Axtell RC (1989) Filth fly (Diptera) oviposition and larval development in poultry manure of various moisture levels. J Entomol Sci 24(2):224–231CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Feedipedia (2016) Animal Feed Resources Information System - INRA CIRAD AFZ and FAO, Rome. Available from
  14. Gahukar RT (2016) Edible insects farming: efficiency and impact on family livelihood, food security, and environment compared with livestock and crops. In: Dossey AT, Morales-Ramos JA, Rojas MG (eds) Insects as sustainable food ingredients: production, processing and food applications. Academic Press, New York, pp 85–111. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. GREEiNSECT (2016) Technical brief #1: Insects as food and feed in Kenya – past, current, and future perspectives. International Conference on Legislation and Policy on the Use of Insect as Food and Feed in East AfricaGoogle Scholar
  16. Hardouin J, Mahoux G (2003) Zootechnie d’insectes – Elevage et utilisation au bénéfice de l’homme et de certains animaux. Bureau pour l’Echange et la Distribution de l’Information sur le Mini-élevage (BEDIM), BelgiumGoogle Scholar
  17. Harnden LM, Tomberlin JK (2016) Effects of temperature and diet on black soldier fly, Hermetia illucens (L.) (Diptera: Stratiomyidae), development. Forensic Sci Int 266:109–116. CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. HLPE (2016) Sustainable agricultural development for food security and nutrition: what roles for livestock? A report by the High Level Panel of Experts on Food Security and Nutrition of the Committee on World Food Security, Rome, July 2016Google Scholar
  19. Holmes LA, Vanlaerhoven SL, Tomberlin JK (2012) Relative humidity effects on the life history of Hermetia illucens (Diptera : Stratiomyidae). Environ Entomol 41(4):971–978CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Makkar HPS, Ankers P (2014) Towards sustainable animal diets: a survey-based study. Anim Feed Sci Technol 198:309–322. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Makkar HPS, Tran G, Heuzé V, Ankers P (2014) State-of-the-art on use of insects as animal feed. Anim Feed Sci Technol 197:1–33CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Mekonnen MM, Hoekstra AY (2012) A global assessment of the water footprint of farm animal products. Ecosystems 15(3):401–415CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Myers HM, Tomberlin JK, Lambert BD, Kattes D (2008) Development of black soldier fly (Diptera: Stratiomyidae) larvae fed dairy manure. Environ Entomol 37(1):11–15CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  24. Muys, B., Roffeis, M., Pastor, B., Gobbi, P., Martínez-Sánchez, A., Rojo, S., Zhu, F., Mathijs, E., Achten, W.A., 2014. Generic life cycle assessment of proteins from insects. Insects to Feed The World, 1st 23 International Conference 14–17 May 2014, Wageningen (Ede), The Netherlands. FAO, Wageningen 24 Unversity, p. 107Google Scholar
  25. Newton GL, Sheppard DC, Burtle G, Watson DW, Dove R (2005) Using the black Soldier Fly, Hermetia illucens, as a Value-Added Tool for The Management of Swine Manure. Report for Mike Williams Director of the Animal and Poultry Waste Management Center, North Carolina State University, RaleighGoogle Scholar
  26. Parra Paz AS, Carrejo NS, Gómez Rodríguez CH (2015) Effects of larval density and feeding rates on the bioconversion of vegetable waste using black soldier fly larvae Hermetia illucens. Waste Biomass Valoris 6:1059–1065. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Rumpold BA, Schlüter OK (2013a) Potential and challenges of insects as an innovative source for food and feed production. Innovative Food Sci Emerg Technol 17:1–11CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Rumpold BA, Schlüter OK (2013b) Nutritional composition and safety aspects of edible insects. Molecular Nutrition and. Food Res 57(3):802–823Google Scholar
  29. Schösler H, de Boer J, Boersema JJ (2011) Can we cut out the meat of the dish? constructing consumer-oriented pathways towards meat substitution. Appetite 58(1):39–47CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  30. Sheppard DC, Tomberlin JK, Joyce JA, Kiser BC, Sumner SM (2002) Rearing methods for the black Soldier Fly (Diptera: Stratiomyidae). J Med Entomol 39(4):695–698CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  31. Sikorowski PP, Lawrence AM (1994) Microbial contamination and insect rearing. Am Entomol 40(4):240–253. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Smith R, and Barnes E, (2015) PROteINSECT Consensus Business Case Report: ‘Determining the contribution that insects can make to addressing the protein deficit in Europe, Minerva Health & Care Communications LtdGoogle Scholar
  33. Spranghers T, Ottoboni M, Klootwijk C, Ovyn A, Deboosere S, De Meulenaer B, Michiels J, Eeckhout M, De Clercq P, De Smet S (2016) Nutritional composition of black soldier fly (Hermetia illucens) prepupae reared on different organic waste substrates. J Sci Food Agric.
  34. Tan HSG, Fischer ARH, Tinchanc P, Stiegera M, Steenbekkersa LPA, van Trijp HCM (2015) Insects as food: exploring cultural exposure and individual experience as determinants of acceptance. Food Qual Prefer 42:78–89CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Tomberlin JK, Sheppard CD (2002) Factors influencing mating and oviposition of black soldier flies (Diptera: Stratiomyidae) in a colony. J Entomol Sci 37(4):345–352CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Tomberlin JK, Adler PH, Myers HM (2009) Development of the black soldier fly (Diptera: Stratiomyidae) in relation to temperature. Environ Entomol 38(3):930–934. CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  37. van Huis A (2013) Potential of insects as food and feed in assuring food security. Annu Rev Entomol 58:563–583CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  38. van Huis A, Van Itterbeeck J, Klunder H, Mertens E, Halloran A, Muir G, Vantomme P (2013) Edible insects – future prospects for food and feed security. FAO Forestry Paper 171Google Scholar
  39. van Huis A, Dicke M, van Loon JJA (2015) Insects to feed the world. J Insects Food Feed 1:3–5CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Van der Fels-Klerx HJ, Camenzuli L, van der Lee MK, Oonincx DGAB (2016) Uptake of cadmium, lead and arsenic by tenebrio molitor and Hermetia illucens from contaminated substrates. PLoS One 11(11):e0166186. CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  41. Verbeke W, Spranghers T, De Clercq P, De Smet S, Sas B, Eeckhout M (2015) Insects in animal feed: acceptance and its determinants among farmers, agriculture sector stakeholders and citizens. Anim Feed Sci Technol 204:72–87. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Wilson K, Thomas MB, Blanford S, Doggett M, Simpson SJ, Moore SL (2002) Coping with crowds: density-dependent disease resistance in desert locusts. Proc Natl Acad Sci 99:5471–5475CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  43. WWAP (United Nations World Water Assessment Programme) (2015) The United Nations World Water Development Report 2015: Water for a Sustainable World. Paris, UNESCOGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Syrine Chaalala
    • 1
    Email author
  • Achille Leplat
    • 1
  • Harinder Makkar
    • 2
  1. 1.nextProteinParisFrance
  2. 2.Food and Agriculture Organization of the United NationsRomeItaly

Personalised recommendations