Categoria: 23 ESPN

T. Veldkamp, S. Naser El Deen, and A. Rezaei Far
Wageningen University & Research, Wageningen Livestock Research (WLR), De Elst 1, 6700 AH
Wageningen, the Netherlands
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Poultry production, which contributes more than 30% of protein for human consumption globally through meat and eggs due to its high nutritional value and affordability, is expected to grow further. This increased demand for poultry products implies an increase in demand for poultry feed. To improve the sustainability of the poultry value chain, sustainability aspects related to the feed ingredients used in poultry feed must be considered and finding sustainable feed ingredients would be an important step toward more sustainable poultry production. The substitution of soybean meal by locally derived protein sources will most likely result in increased sustainability in terms of land use, energy use, and emissions.

Insect farming, as a sustainable, environmentally friendly agricultural practice, can avoid overexploitation of natural resources by converting organic side-streams and biowaste into high-quality insect products. Producing insect protein requires a fraction of the space required to produce the same amount of protein from soybeans. Housefly (HF, Musca domestica) and black soldier fly (BSF, Hermetia illucens) rearing on 1 hectare of land, for example, could produce at least 150 tons of insect protein per year, compared to less than a ton of soybeans protein for the same area (Dunkel and Payne, 2016). Furthermore, the use of organic side-streams and biowaste from various agricultural processes reduces the amount of land used for insect feed production. Compared to other agricultural activities, insect farming has a low water footprint, with the most footprint attributed to insect feed (Miglietta et al., 2015). Oonincx (2021) reviewed the first studies on the environmental impact of insect farming, which revealed that land use associated with insect production was generally low in comparison to conventional feed ingredients. When insects are reared in temperate climates, which require extensive climate control, the energy use of insect production is often high compared to conventional products. Aside from the energy consumed during the rearing process, the commercial allowed feedstock accounts for a significant portion of the environmental impact. This effect can be mitigated by using low impact feedstock, assuming that feed can be used efficiently, lowering the environmental impact of insect production. As the sector develops, increased efficiency and thus reduced environmental impact are expected. Based on the foregoing, insect farming has the potential to be a sustainable and environmentally friendly agri-food sector producing more sustainable alternative ingredients for the feed sector. Replacing conventional ingredients with insect products in poultry feed could reduce the environmental impact of chicken meat and egg.

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