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Dear Readers and friends of SUStainable INsect CHAIN (SUSINCHAIN),

The third SUSINCHAIN newsletter is ahead of you. Through this newsletter, we would like to inform you about the progress of the various work packages, media coverage, news and articles, events and partners and stakeholders. The project has been running for 18 months and the first periodical report will soon be delivered to the EU. Project partners are making every effort to make significant advances in various innovation activities, often under difficult circumstances as a result of COVID-19.

During the annual EAAP meeting, a SUSINCHAIN project day will be organised in the period from 30 August to 3 September 2021, for which a total of 22 abstracts have been submitted. The detailed EAAP program is not known yet, but you will be informed about this in a next newsletter. I hope you enjoy reading the newsletter.

Teun Veldkamp, Wageningen Livestock Research, coordinator of SUSINCHAIN.

For more information on the SUSINCHAIN project and its research topics, the Project Coordinator invites you to check our website.

Project updates

Activities on Market Opportunities and Barriers Including Consumer Acceptance

Living Labs: NGN together with other stakeholders are in charge of Assessing barriers and different strategies to overcome the different problems of the interested companies.

From the previously conducted survey, we are able to identify the problems they are facing. We are still on the phase of discovering the most faced warrior and offer different solutions to identify a new strategy.

Our planning for the upcoming weeks:

  • Reconnect with all the different companies to see how they are doing;
  • Add some structure;
  • Talk about their personal experiences

Screenshot of virtual meetings with the Living labs partners

Activities on Upscaling Rearing Insects

Even though all partners are still affected by corona virus lockdown measures, the experimental work to improve the rearing of insects continues at an unrelenting pace.

Bugging Denmark and the University of Copenhagen have a new research facility and started with cricket feed trials. They are currently assessing several by-products and different particle sizes (picture below) optimizing the growth of the cricket both based on the physical appearance of the feed and the nutritional quality.

Working hard on the crickets!

At the same time Hermetia and BFT are preparing several experiments to assess whether or not reducing the feed density (mass/volume) for the black soldier fly larvae improves the growth and survival of the larvae.

At Inagro, the largest mealworm experiment to date has been set up with nearly 2,000,000 larvae (picture below). The results will give us insight in the temperature production of the mealworm larvae and optimal larvae density.

1/3 of the mealworm experiment

Activities on Insect Processing

Experiments involving vacuum packaging of living and killed black soldier fly larvae have delivered first results. In order to investigate transport and storage possibilities, the impact of vacuum conditions on survival, gases and/or microbiological quality of the larvae was explored. Storage temperature and other potential storage conditions are subject of further experiments in the upcoming months.

The microwave drying technology was optimised for a second insect species: the mealworm. First, the ideal conditions to produce high-quality dried insects with the correct moisture content were determined. Next, the insects were also subjected to microbiological analyses in order to evaluate the impact of the drying process on the microbiological quality of the mealworms.

A radio frequency drying device was developed and constructed. At the moment, this newly designed machine is being validated for the drying of insects, e.g. black soldier fly larvae.

Radio frequency drying device developed for insects (Dymotec)

All other processing technologies (LEEB treatment, high moisture extrusion, enzymatic treatment + tricanter centrifugation) have made substantial progress in their research. For example, shelf-life tests after LEEB treatment are ongoing.

Large-scale production of three types of black soldier fly larvae meals for animal feed trials in WP4 is ongoing.

Activities on Insects in Animal Feed

Digestibility trials on different commercial batches of BSF produced over one year are nearly finished.

The 4 batches of BSF larvae meal produced by Hermetia Baruth GmbH (partner of the project) and used for digestibility trials on rainbow trout, sea bass and broiler, showed small variation on composition, with crude protein and crude fat values varying from 55 to 59% (as fed) and 8 to 10.7%, respectively. Crude protein digestibility results for the first three BSF meals showed values ranging from 76 to 89% for rainbow trout and from 80 to 85% for sea bass. These values are in line with crude protein digestibility data of other processed animal proteins. In salmon, the in vitro trial done using four BSF batches (Protix) resulted in amino acid digestibility values ranging from 55 to 75%. Overall, these preliminary results obtained in fish species using different BSF batches highlighted good digestibility values and differences are likely due to process variations.

Digestibility trials

A broiler in vivo digestibility trial was done using the four batches and analyses are ongoing.

The large-scale trials on fish and broiler will start soon.

Activities on Insects as Food

We have developed six insect-based product designed to be suited for dinner meals. The products are:

  1. A minced meat analogue made from fresh mealworm to be incorporated in a tomato paste sauce
  2. A mealworm based falafel product
  3. A crispy flatbread product with cricket powder
  4. A sausage with powdered mealworm is still under development
  5. A spicy pesto product based on fresh crickets
  6. A spicy cricket powder product based on fresh, fried powders crickets. 

The products are designed to incorporate insects in amounts, which will contribute 13 g of insect protein in a dinner serving. With this amount of protein, we expect menus where three weekly dinner meals includes one of the products will support consumers to replace 20% of the animal protein originating from meat in typical diets.

The products are currently under evaluation for sensory quality in a consumer panel at SenseTest, Portugal, to guide the final refinement of the product specifications. Some of the products have been evaluated for acceptability among school children in Copenhagen. This evaluation was incorporated into online teaching sessions during COVID lock-down of schools in Copenhagen.

Consumer testing of menus combing the six inset products are under preparation inn Portugal and Denmark. The products will be provided to families over a period of six weeks to assess the replacement of animal protein sources in dinner meals, as well as the other dietary changes. The acceptance and liking of the novel dinner meals will be assessed and compared to a parallel intervention in families receiving a plant-based alternative.

Spicy cricket ‘dahl’ served with rice and fresh coriander. The product is developed by Skylab/DTU. Photo: Yi-Ting

 

Activities on Safety along the Insect Value Chain

The experiment with rearing Lesser Mealworms at substrate spiked with aflatoxins was held at the end of 2020. The substrate was spiked with aflatoxin B1 at 2 different concentrations at WFSR. The spiked substrate was transported to ProtiFarm where the experiment was run. After 3 weeks, the larvae were harvested and sent back, together with samples of the residual materials, to WFSR for chemical analyses. In addition to analysing aflatoxin B1 and it know metabolites, also mass spectrometry analyses is done. Results are currently checked and interpreted.

Harvested lesser mealworm larvae at Protifarm

 The experiment with plant toxins is prepared and is planned to be held in June. In this experiment, lesser mealworm and black soldier fly larvae will be reared on substrates spiked with a mixture of plant toxins. Larvae will be investigated for possible accumulation or excretion of these toxins.

Activities on Decision Support System for Sustainable Insect Value Chains

The establishment of a modular framework helped determine the hotspot of sustainable production, but its infusion with probability analysis of processing and production technologies application also helped recognize the most important factors to model insect chain. These factors were associated with high environmental impacts that were analysed through compiling the life cycle inventory, accomplished by the ETH. The inventory will be used for multi-objective optimization od sustainable insect chains (core od DSS). This integrated with an excel-based tool for the industrial application, representing a simple decision supporting system, allowing companies to recognize hotspots of the insect supply chain, estimate environmental and economic impacts without performing LCA analysis, and provide stakeholders with appropriate recommendations to improve the insect supply chain.

Activities on Exploitation, Communication and Dissemination

The Stakeholder Platform has more than 35 active users! The objective is to foster the online discussion structure in a forum between the project partners and project stakeholders (consumers, farmers, representatives from industry, academia and civil society organisations). Please contact us if you would like to join the SUSINCHAIN Stakeholder Platform, as the platform is restricted to invitation only. 

Cooperation with the European Commission sister projects: we are in communication with the projects NextGen Proteins, ProFuture and Smart Protein to discuss synergies and will be developing joint actions to be released soon. Stay tuned!

Spotlights & Media Room

SUSINCHAIN featured on Bugging Denmark's social media

SUSINCHAIN was featured in a video on Bugging Denmark´s social media with their collaboration with the University of Copenhagen on the upcycle of used refrigerated containers for the production of edible chickens.

Featured News & Articles

  • A scientific paper entitled “Biological contaminants in insects as food and feed” was published in Journal of Insects as Food and Feed in the context of WP 6: safety along the insect value chain. The article is available in the following link.
  • The scientific paper “Environmental aspects of insect mass production” was also published on the in Journal of Insects as Food and Feed in the context of WP 7: Decision Support System for Sustainable Insect Value Chains. It reviews the current LCA studies on insect production. Follow this link to access the article.
  • Tenebrio molitor as a novel food: The Standing Committee on Plants, Animals, Food and Feed (Novel Food and Toxicological Safety section), which is composed of representatives of all EU countries and chaired by a European Commission representative, has given, on 3rd May, a favourable opinion on the draft legal act authorising the placing on the market of dried yellow mealworm, as a novel food. More information available here.

Events

Past

SUSINCHAIN was featured on the 2nd EAAP virtual seminar "The fast growth of the Insects Industry". The video of the session is available here.

Upcoming

  • EIT Food recently launched the 2021 Call for applications for the Innovator Fellowship programme. The application deadline is 14 May 2021 View more
  • Online Summer School Insects as Food & Feed – 21 June to 2021 - View more
  • EAAP 2021 – Davos, Switzerland (30 August – 3 September) View more
  • INSECTA 2021 – Magdeburg, Germany (8-9 September) View more
  • 35th EFFoST International Conference 2021 – 1-4 November 2021 - View more
  • Insects to Feed the World – Quebec, Canada (June 2022) – to be confirmed

Partners & Stakeholders

SUSINCHAIN Partners

Call for Supporting Organisations

Please contact Ms. Thaís Soares if your organisation wants to be featured at SUSINCHAIN´s Supporting Organisation webpage.

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SUSINCHAIN received funding from the European Union’s H2020 programme under the grant agreement 861976.
This project has been funded with support from the European Commission.

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