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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Stoneville, Mississippi » Biological Control of Pests Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #413564

Research Project: Management of Aflatoxin and Other Mycotoxins in Row Crops such as Maize, Peanut, and Soybean

Location: Biological Control of Pests Research

Title: How Crickets Can "Upcycle" Bad Grain Into Useful Animal Feed

item PAULK, RYAN - Mississippi State University
item Abbas, Hamed
item Rojas, Maria - Guadalupe
item Morales Ramos, Juan
item Busman, Mark
item Little, Nathan
item SHIER, THOMAS - University Of Minnesota

Submitted to: Journal of Economic Entomology
Publication Type: Popular Publication
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/22/2024
Publication Date: 2/29/2024
Citation: Paulk, R., Abbas, H.K., Rojas, M.G., Morales Ramos, J.A., Busman, M., Little, N., Shier, T.W. 2024. How Crickets Can "Upcycle" Bad Grain Into Useful Animal Feed. Journal of Economic Entomology. pg. 1-6.

Interpretive Summary: Mycotoxins, such as fumonisin, contaminate corn on a global scale where they cause economic loss and disease. Corn not suitable for human consumption is often redirected into the diets of livestock, where it still has an effect, though to a lesser degree. Health issues in livestock still arise and cause economic loss. These effects may be avoidable by introducing a new feed component such as insect meal, that is produced from contaminated grain, but may be lower in mycotoxin. Here, it is demonstrated that healthy house crickets are able to be reared on artificial diets contaminated with fumonisn to produce a low-fumonisin insect meal that can then be used as livestock feed.

Technical Abstract: Mycotoxins contaminate grain on a global scale where they cause the devaluation of agricultural products and create health risks for the consumer. Fumonisins are one such class of mycotoxin. Produced by Fusarium verticillioides, a ubiquitous fungus in corn, fumonisins’ economic impact can be significant by causing various diseases in livestock such as leukoencephalomalacia in horses, pulmonary edema in swine, and general hepatotoxicity and nephrotoxicity in other species. Finding safe alternatives to the destruction and waste of contaminated grain and restoring its economic value is needed for a sustainable future. Safe, re-introduction into the farm food web through a consumable intermediary such as insects may be possible. This study will demonstrate the suitability of the house cricket, Acheta domesticus, L., (Orthoptera: Gryllidae), as an alternative protein source in domestic animal feed by quantifying the levels of fumonisin B1 in their subsequent insect meal. Small colonies (n=25) of 2nd instar A. domesticus were reared to 5th instar adults on nutrient-optimized corn-based diets treated with zero (control), low (1 ppm), medium (5 ppm), and high (20ppm) levels of fumonisin B1. Increasing levels of fumonisin B1 showed no adverse effects on survivorship or growth of A. domesticus. Insect meal prepared from A. domesticus was found to have significantly lower levels of fumonisin B1 than their respective diets by 95 to 97%. The successful rearing to adulthood of A. domesticus paired with their lower levels of fumonisin B1 supports the idea that more sustainable agricultural practices can be developed through remediation of low-value mycotoxin contaminated grain with safer, higher-value insects as livestock feed components.