Feed Parameters Influencing the Breeding of Mealworms (Tenebrio molitor)

Jiří Mlček, Martin Adámek, Anna Adámková, Jiří Matyáš, Martina Bučková, Martina Mrázková, Robert Vícha, Radek Vychodil, Ivana Knížková, Zdeněk Volek
2021 Sustainability  
With the growing public interest in edible insects, breeders are forced to increase the volume of production and shorten the life cycle of farmed insects. The exact composition of the feed is the know-how of each manufacturer. The aim of this work was to determine the general impact of individual conventional types of feed (bran, whey, raw ware potatoes) on the life cycle rate of Tenebrio molitor (TM), larval mortality and the content of fats, fatty acids and nitrogenous substances in larvae
more » ... their excrements. For the reasons of sustainability of the state of nature and waste disposal, polystyrene foam was added to the experiment as feed. The experiment was performed in two phases—rearing for 21 weeks and 5 weeks. The nitrogen content was determined using the Kjeldahl method (ISO 1871: 2009), the fat content by the Soxhlet method and the fatty acid profile using a gas chromatograph with a flame ionization detector (FID). The results of the work show that the basis of the TM feed is wheat bran, not only due to the observed low larval mortality (45% over 21 weeks) and their optimal nutritional value (nitrogenous substances 53.6% DM, fat 37.1% DM, the highest total fatty acid content) but also due to the higher speed of TM development. Lower larval mortality during rearing was found when feeding dried whey and raw ware potatoes, but the development cycle rate was low. This confirmed that the bran as a feed allowed a fast life cycle with good larval nutritional parameters. From a nutritional and reproductive point of view, TM appeared to be a suitable alternative to animal production. Polystyrene as a feed, tested for biodegradation by TM larvae, caused the highest larval mortality (75% in 21 weeks). However, the content of nitrogenous substances in the larvae increased to 69.77%, in the excrement, it even increased to 82.68%, and there was no cannibalism among the larvae. The work thus demonstrated the possibility of biodegradation of polystyrene using TM larvae with an increase in nitrogenous substances in both larvae and excrement.
doi:10.3390/su132312992 fatcat:osjneb6aezcxhhf2tuzb4us66i