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Research Project: Biological Control and Integrated Management of Invasive Arthropod Pests from Europe, Asia, and Africa

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Title: Mosquitoes harvested from rice-fields as alternative protein ingredient in broiler feed: Insights from the first pilot study

item TSAFRAKIDOU, PANAGIOTA - European Biological Control Laboratory (EBCL)
item PAPOTI, VASSILIKI - American Farm School
item GIANNAKAKIS, EFSTATHIOS - American Farm School
item CHRISTAKI, ANDRONIKA - European Biological Control Laboratory (EBCL)
item MIAOULIS, MICHAEL - European Biological Control Laboratory (EBCL)
item Oppert, Brenda
item Cohnstaedt, Lee
item Arsi, Komala
item Donoghue, Ann - Annie
item VERGOS, EVANGELOS - American Farm School
item ZINOVIADOU, KYRIAKI - American Farm School
item CHASKOPOULOU, ALEXANDRA - European Biological Control Laboratory (EBCL)

Submitted to: Journal of Economic Entomology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/24/2024
Publication Date: 5/8/2024
Citation: Tsafrakidou, P., Papoti, V., Giannakakis, E., Christaki, A., Miaoulis, M., Oppert, B.S., Cohnstaedt, L.W., Arsi, K., Donoghue, A.M., Vergos, E., Zinoviadou, K., Chaskopoulou, A. 2024. Mosquitoes harvested from rice-fields as alternative protein ingredient in broiler feed: Insights from the first pilot study. Journal of Economic Entomology. 1-12.

Interpretive Summary: Large-scale livestock production is a significant contributor to climate change globally, with animal feed production being one of the major greenhouse gas emission sources. There is a critical need for alternative feed sources with low environmental impact. Insects are receiving increased attention globally as an alternative protein source to feed livestock and help address agriculture-induced climate change. Our study (the first of its kind) serves as an initial exploration evaluating the feasibility of incorporating wild-harvested insect pests (mosquitoes) into chicken feed as a potential protein source. Based on our results pestiferous insects, such as mosquitoes, may possess a value as a nutrient-rich component in poultry diets and should be further investigated.

Technical Abstract: Global population continuous growth and increasing consumers’ demands for protein-rich diets have posed sustainability challenges for traditional livestock feed sources. Consequently, exploring alternative and sustainable protein sources has become imperative to address the environmental burden and resource limitations associated with conventional ingredients. With respect to food security assurance, insects have emerged as a promising solution due to their exceptional nutritional profile, rapid reproduction rates, and low environmental impact. In the present pilot study, 10% of the total protein content of a soybean meal-based diet was replaced by adult mosquitoes harvested from rice-fields. The objective was to assess the effect of this partial substitution on meat quality aspects and consumer acceptance. A total of 40 Cobb hybrid broiler chickens were randomly placed in a control and a mosquito fed group. The study was conducted for 42 days and carcass physicochemical, nutritional, and microbiological characteristics, as well as sensory attributes were evaluated. Overall, results regarding quality attributes were comparable between the control and the treatment group. The organoleptic evaluation showed that the treatment thighs had the highest overall consumer acceptance. These outcomes indicate that mosquitoes could be successfully used as a protein source for broiler feed without compromising the quality and acceptability of the meat.