more in the March issue of Agricultural Research magazine.
Medfly's Mealtime Leftovers May
By Marcia Wood
March 22, 2000
Hungry cattle may help solve the
problem of what to do with tons of a nutritious mix that's left over from
rearing millions of sexually sterile Mediterranean fruit flies.
Agricultural Research Service and
University of Hawaii scientists have
shown that insectary leftovers make a safe, nourishing and highly digestible
feed for livestock. That might help solve the costly environmental problem of
how to get rid of this byproduct, generated when insectaries rear the sterile
medflies needed to prevent wild, fertile medflies from gaining a foothold in
warm-weather states like California and Florida.
Called "spent diet," the caramel-to-brown leftovers look something
like moist sawdust or dried oatmeal, and contain water, wheat germ, sugar,
yeast and milled wheat bran or milled corn cobs.
Harvey T. Chan, now retired from ARS, and Eric B. Jang of ARS in Hawaii,
collaborated in the research with a team led by James R. Carpenter of the
University of Hawaii. A medfly factory run by USDA's Animal and Plant Health
Inspection Service on the island of Oahu, Hawaii, is currently shipping spent
diet to North Shore Cattle Co. on Oahu. Carpenter's group is monitoring the
effect of the new rations on livestock weight gains.
The APHIS insectary currently
provides about 300 million sterile medflies every week for medfly control in
southern California, and generates about 12,000 pounds of the leftover food
every day, according to facility director Stuart H. Stein.
The idea of recycling medfly diet isn't new, but the Hawaii studies are
apparently the first to provide the data needed for a commercial trial with
cattle in that state. For details, see an article from the March issue of ARS'
ARS is the chief research agency of the U.S.
Department of Agriculture.
Scientific contact: Eric B. Jang, ARS
U.S. Pacific Basin Agricultural Research
Center, Hilo, Hawaii, phone (808) 959-4300, fax (808) 959-4323,