How to Develop Strategies to Use Insects as Animal Feed: Digestibility, Functionality, Safety, and Regulation
Received: Mar 28, 2022; Revised: Apr 08, 2022; Accepted: Apr 11, 2022
Published Online: May 10, 2022
Various insects have emerged as novel feed resources due to their economical, eco-friendly, and nutritive characteristics. Fish, poultry, and pigs are livestock that can feed on insects. The digestibility of insect-containing meals were presented by the species, life stage, nutritional component, and processing methods. Several studies have shown a reduced apparent digestibility coefficient (ADC) when insects were supplied as a replacement for commercial meals related to chitin. Although the expression of chitinase mRNA was present in several livestock, indigestible components in insects, such as chitin or fiber, could be a reason for the reduced ADC. However, various components can positively affect livestock health. Although the bio-functional properties of these components have been verified in vitro, they show positive health-promoting effects owing to their functional expression when directly applied to animal diets. Changes in the intestinal microbiota of animals, enhancement of immunity, and enhancement of antibacterial activity were confirmed as positive effects that can be obtained through insect diets. However, there are some issues with the safety of insects as feed. To increase the utility of insects as feed, microbial hazards, chemical hazards, and allergens should be regulated. The European Union, North America, East Asia, Australia, and Nigeria have established regulations regarding insect feed, which could enhance the utility of insects as novel feed resources for the future.