UK team awarded £250K to optimize mealworm production for chicken and fish feed

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A team involving mealworm-based producer, Entec Nutrition, the University of Exeter, and Campden BRI secured a grant of £250K (around US$333K) from the Innovate UK Transforming Food Production​ program for the project.

The team is looking to reduce the carbon footprint of the UK feed industry by investigating efficient mealworm production methodologies and the science behind insect nutrition in animal feed.

Entec Nutrition is the lead partner in the project. 

Campden BRI and the University of Exeter will carry out research and analysis around optimizing mealworm production to align with end user requirements,” ​said Tiia Morsky, ingredients research team leader, Campden BRI.

Such work will involve looking at separation, drying, milling and analysis of mealworm derived protein and oil product characteristics including nutrition, shelf-life and functionality.

Low energy production 

The global feed industry is energy-intensive, reliant on international imports, at risk of commodity price hikes, and associated with deforestation, said the research partners. The UK needs to increase feed production resilience to mitigate these issues, they argue. The project is aiming to support the UK’s goal to reach net zero carbon target by 2050.

Referencing the environmental benefits of mealworm production outlined in a study from 2017 ​​by Joop et al, Dr Olivia Champion, co-founder and CEO of Entec Nutrition, said lifecycle assessment (LCA) studies for mealworm production indicates it has around 50% the global warming potential of other feed sources.

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