Evaluating multiple edible insects as feed for cattle: An in-vitro analysis

dc.contributor.advisorDrewery, Merritt
dc.contributor.authorRea, Jay
dc.description.abstractThe increasing human population will result in increased consumer demand for animal-derived protein food products. Continued cultivation of traditional protein feeds (e.g., soybean, cottonseed) to feed domestic cattle is unsustainable. Edible insect protein is a promising alternative, requiring fewer resources to produce while also providing a high-quality protein feed source. The objective of this study was to evaluate multiple edible insect species using chemical compositions and in vitro digestibility methods to determine the validity of pursuing further research into the use of various edible insect proteins as cattle feed. Insect samples (n=14) of different species (n=5) were sourced from several private-sector companies along with their product processing information. Ruminal in vitro digestibility was analyzed using a DAISYII incubator. Dry matter, organic matter, neutral detergent fiber, acid detergent fiber, crude protein, ether extract (fat), sodium, calcium, and phosphorus were analyzed using industry-validated procedures. Our data indicate a wide margin of protein and fat percentages among and between species. This variation is most likely due to the unstandardized rearing and processing of edible insect products among companies. Neutral and acid detergent fiber also ranged widely among samples, most likely due to chitin content within the exoskeleton of the insects. All samples had more than 65% in vitro true digestibility, suggesting high ruminal digestibility. This exploratory study indicates that black soldier fly larvae, mealworms, crickets, and grasshoppers have the potential to be used as a sustainable alternative in cattle feed in place of traditional protein feeds and further research should focus on those species. Our data also suggest that standardizing production practices for edible insects will be vital to ensure quality control and consistency of insect protein products if used wide-scale in the livestock feed industry.
dc.description.departmentHonors College
dc.format.extent41 pages
dc.format.medium1 file (.pdf)
dc.identifier.citationRea, J. (2022). Evaluating multiple edible insects as feed for cattle: An in-vitro analysis (Unpublished thesis). Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas.
dc.subjectedible insect
dc.subjectalternative protein
dc.subjectHonors College
dc.titleEvaluating multiple edible insects as feed for cattle: An in-vitro analysis
thesis.degree.departmentHonors College
thesis.degree.disciplineAgricultural Sciences
thesis.degree.grantorTexas State University
txstate.documenttypeHonors Thesis


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