Nutritional value of some insects and their impact on post weaning diarrhoea caused by Escherichia coli
Sammanfattning: Insects like Black soldier fly (Hermetia Illucens), Mealworm larvae (Tenebrio Molitor) and House cricket (Acheta Domesticus) are of interest as possible sources of protein to be fed to monogastic animals like pigs and poultry, as they are all thought to have nutrient compositions similar to soybean- or fish meal. This is of interest as the demand for high quality protein is increasing in time with the growing world population. Black soldier fly have been found to have high palatability when fed to pigs whilst mealworm larvae have been found with the ability to utilize substrates of low nutritional quality especially well. House crickets are of interest for being relatively easy to rear and for being palatable. The insects’ exoskeleton is partly composed of chitin, which is a polymer similar to cellulose that has been found to potentially affect the ability to digest and utilize proteins negatively. By using chitinous derivates in the feed, it might be possible to reduce the occurrence of post weaning diarrhoea (PWD), which can strike piglets as they are in the process of building up their own microbial flora and immune system. The diarrhoea is commonly caused by specific strains of Escherichia coli (E.coli) and the enterotoxin it produces. This is usually treated with antibiotics in the EU. By feeding piglets with chitin or chitinious derivates, the intestinal microbiota of the piglets could potentially be strengthened and the occurrence of enterotoxigenic E.coli could potentially be reduced. In order to further evaluate the potential of insects as a source of protein for monogastric animals, as well as determining the function of chitin regarding the intestinal microbiota in piglets, more research is needed.
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