In the last few years great efforts have been made to find alternative protein sources to soybean meal and valorise organic by-product, which are produced in large amounts by food industries and are often inedible by humans. In this context, insects could be an alternative protein source. The study, conducted by DISAA’s researcher, aims to evaluate the growth performance, nutrient composition, and environmental impact of Hermetia illucens reared on a control hen diet and by-products diets. The best results as growth rate and final weight were obtained with larvae grown on hen diet and maize distillers, while larvae grown on brewer’s grain had the highest protein content. The environmental impact of larvae production on the hen diet was the most impactful due to the high inclusion of soybean meal in the diet. The study shows that it is possible to include larvae meal grown on by-products in animal feeding.

Figure: Hermetia illucens larvae.


Bava L., Jucker C., Gislon G., Lupi D., Savoldelli S., Zucali M., Colombini S., 2019. Rearing of Hermetia illucens on different organic by-products: influence on growth, waste reduction, and environmental impact. Animals, 9, 289-305. DOI:10.3390/ani9060289.


The study was supported by grants of Università degli studi di Milano: LINEA 2 – PIANO DI SOSTEGNO ALLA RICERCA: “PROINSECT—Proteine da insetti per l’alimentazione animale: allevamento, valore nutritivo e sostenibilità ambientale“ and “PROENTO—Insects: an alternative source of proteins”.