Background: The health status of the indigenous people of Ratanakiri Province, Cambodia, is significantly lower compared with that of the rest of the nation. The domestication and mass production of insects may represent a sustainable, cost effective and high quality alternative source of protein to traditional livestock. This study aimed to optimise a cheap and residential cricket breeding system based on unused wild resources. The development of crickets, Teleogryllus testaceus (Walker), under seven diets composed of taro aerial parts, young cassava leaves, young cashew leaves and brown rice flour (with or without banana slices), versus a traditionally used broiler feed diet was studied.
Results: Cricket mortality was low in all diets, except the two cashew-based diets. Total biomass was significantly higher under the broiler feed, in addition to the two diets containing a combination of cassava leaf powder and brown rice. Yet, crickets fed with the taro diet had the highest percentage of protein. Concerning the breeding system cost, units using cassava leaves were the cheapest.
Conclusion: Diets based on cassava leaves seem to be the most promising. Nevertheless, to produce crickets with a high body mass and a high protein level, a new experiments must be devised in which cassava leaf maturity will be adapted to fit with the cricket growth stage. Moreover, to reduce the cost of the breeding units, handmade local products should be used instead of purchased components.
Keywords: Teleogryllus testaceus; cashew leaves; cassava leaves; crickets; insect rearing; sustainable development; taro leaves.
© 2015 Society of Chemical Industry.