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Improving lives by solving problems in agriculture and the environment

New CABI project investigates the use of insects in animal feed

New CABI project investigates the use of insects in animal feed

CABI joins Fera for a new €3 million, EU-funded project, PROteINSECT, to investigate growing flies as a potential source of protein in animal feed

Switzerland- 29 May 2013


With an increasing global population and a rise in per-capita meat consumption in developing countries, there is a need to investigate alternative sources of protein for use in animal feed. Europe’s high demand for feed protein is currently largely met though imported soya. For generations, a variety of insects have been a valuable source of protein for both human consumption and animal feed across continents other than Europe. As consumption habits shift to pork, chicken and fish, insects have the potential to be utilised more effectively as a natural ingredient in high-protein feed.

“This project is truly a global collaboration which has come together to explore one avenue to meeting the increasing demand for animal feed,” says CABI’s Marc Kenis. “We’re tapping into expertise of partners in countries such as Mali, Ghana, China and here at CABI Switzerland, to see how science can offer a sustainable long term solution.”

The three-year project, launched earlier this year, is being led by scientists at The Food and Environment Research Agency (Fera), located in York, UK. The main role of CABI in the project will be to coordinate activities on the development of sustainable maggot production systems in Europe, China and Africa.  It will also ensure a good collaboration between European and Non-European partners and support research on fly rearing in China, Mali and Ghana and Switzerland.

Elaine Fitches, Coordinator of the PROteINSECT global consortium, says:  “The potential of insects as a source of valuable protein has been recognised by scientists at Fera for a number of years. With expertise in entomology and food safety, Fera is ideally placed to lead the evaluation of insects as a sustainable source of protein in animal feed.”

“With 3 billion extra mouths to feed by 2050,” says Fitches, “the need to improve the efficient use of land for protein production and the effective utilisation of waste materials has never been greater. Flies, whilst considered traditionally as a household nuisance, have the potential to become a cost-effective novel source of protein for animal feed.”

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