Former Foodstuff Products in Tenebrio Molitor Rearing: Effects on Growth, Chemical Composition, Microbiological Load, and Antioxidant Status

Animals (Basel). 2019 Jul 25;9(8):484. doi: 10.3390/ani9080484.


Tenebrio molitor (mealworm) larvae represent one of the most interesting edible insects and could be reared on alternative feeds, such as former foodstuff products (FFPs). In the present work, five different FFPs (brewery spent grains, bread and cookie leftovers, and mixes of brewer's spent grain or bread with cookies) were employed as feeding substrates. Larvae's growth performances, chemical composition, microbial loads, and antioxidant status were determined. Chemical compositions of the substrates affected all the tested parameters. Brewery spent grains-fed larvae showed a faster growth period and higher crude protein and carbohydrate contents. The use of cookies as a single substrate or their addition to spent grains or bread increased the lipids contents, while growth was delayed. Microbial loads were partially affected by the fed diet. The antioxidant status of larvae showed different concentrations of tocopherols isoforms (δ, γ, α) in relation to the diet; however, no differences were detected in relation to the global antioxidant capacity (2,2-azinobis-(3 ethylbenzothiazoline-6-sulfonic acid), ABTS reducing activity; 1,1-diphenyl-2-pircydrazyl, DPPH radical scavenging activity; ferric reducing ability, FRAP). Results point out a high plasticity of mealworm larvae and the potential to tailor the final outcomes in relation to the substrate employed. Mealworms could be practically reared on FFPs to produce food-feed with high nutrient values.

Keywords: animal protein; by-product; edible insects; entomophagy; mealworm.