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9th February 2021  Product update: new protein staff writer

Black-Soldier Fly Lands on Broiler Chicken's Dinner Plate


Poultrynsect; the project that sees live insect larvae as a sustainable food source for broiler chickens has been successful in obtaining funding for its 3-year research. 

The project is coordinated by the Institute of Food Production Sciences of the National Research Council, in partnership with researchers and professors from the Departments of Veterinary Sciences and Agricultural, Forestry and Food Sciences of the University of Turin.  ,

The project won the joint international tender ERA-NET SUSFOOD2 and CORE Organic that focuses on eco-sustainable food systems.

The three-year project involves using live black soldier fly larvae ( Hermetia illucens ) in the feeding of broilers in organic farming, as a partial replacement of the protein provided by conventional protein sources such as soybean meal, a legume mostly imported from the American continent.

Poultrynsect was developed in collaboration with scientists with expertise in agronomy, poultry nutrition, entomology, veterinary food sciences affiliated to research institutions and Universities of 4 European nations (Belgium, Germany, Italy and Norway).

It aims to evaluate the effect of innovative feed ingredients (live insect larvae) for slow-growing organic chickens in order to enable sustainable meat production, improve animal welfare and meet the potential consumer demand for healthier, tastier and more natural meat products.

The insect larvae will be reared on biological waste substrates, allowing the valorisation of waste materials produced in excess by food industries. During the development of the project both Life Cycle Assessment and Life Cycle Cost analyzes will be conducted to define the economic effects of these innovative productions, and strategic research focused on sensory sciences aimed at defining the eating habits, expectations and preferences of consumers.

Finally, the efficacy of live insect larvae will be evaluated for their potential in improving growth performance, animal welfare, intestinal microbiota and immune system of slow-growing organic chickens.

The team of the University of Turin, coordinated by Prof. Achille Schiavone, professor of nutrition and animal nutrition at the Department of Veterinary Sciences, also sees the participation of Prof. Laura Gasco and Dr Ilaria Biasato and Manuela Renna. 

The research group, which for years has been dealing with the breeding of insects and the use of insect meal for feeding various species of zootechnical interest, will have the task of carrying out, at the Experimental Center Tetto Frati di Carmagnola, in vivo feeding trials using intermediate and slow-growing chickens, to determine the optimal level of inclusion of live larvae for organic chicken production.

The live larvae used in the feeding tests will be provided by the Belgian partner INAGRO VZW with European-recognized entomological skills in insect breeding. The German team of the German Institute of Food Technologies (DIL) will have the task of evaluating the environmental, economic and social sustainability of the replacement of soybeans with insect larvae, while the Norwegian team of NOFIMA AS will carry out the chemical-physical analyzes on the meat poultry to determine their quality.

The CNR will coordinate the entire project under the supervision of the Scientific Responsible, Dr Francesco Gai, a researcher at the Institute of Food Production Sciences. Thanks to a multidisciplinary approach, the results of the POULTRYNSECT project will provide new knowledge on the use of live larvae in the feeding of broilers in organic farming, thus contributing to the development of diets for poultry with improved environmental sustainability.

"The project - says Prof. Achille Schiavone, professor of nutrition and animal nutrition at the Department of Veterinary Sciences of the University of Turin - allows to promote the use of insects in poultry nutrition to improve animal welfare ( through the development of the natural behaviour of chickens to feed on insects), animal health (since insects possess interesting nutraceutical properties capable of improving intestinal health) and the environmental sustainability of feed."


    

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Date Published: 9th February 2021

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Note: This content has been edited by a newprotein.net staff writer for style and content.



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