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

Merry Christmas and all the best for 2023

This is the 8th issue of the SUSINCHAIN newsletter. At the time of publication of this newsletter, the project is in its final year of in total four years.

Consumer surveys and online consumer tests have been completed. Best practice sheets are currently being developed for various work packages. Micronutrients in insect culture substrates were studied. Among the various processing techniques, research on large-scale microwave and high-frequency drying has started, and research on low-electron beam, high-moisture extrusion, and Tricanter enzyme treatment has been completed. Insect meal digestion studies in piglets are currently underway, and large-scale performance studies in laying hens have recently been completed. Large scale performance studies with insect meal-based diets in broilers and piglets are currently ongoing or will start soon, respectively. In a large consumer study in Denmark and Portugal six different insect-based products are tested. Safety studies on substrates, larvae, and frass are currently underway, and sustainability aspects in all stages of the insect chain is assessed.

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 Insect Processing

  • All experiments regarding black soldier fly larvae storage were finished. It was concluded that storage under vacuum was not beneficial to prolong survival or microbiological quality of living or killed larvae, respectively. Storage under nitrogen (N2) atmosphere, on the other hand, was successful to reduce fat oxidation of dried larvae. Finally, also short storage and transport of BSF larvae in water was observed to be possible for short times.
  • A large-scale experiment in comparing drying technologies for black soldier fly larvae was initiated. Microwave drying and radio frequency drying technologies are being compared with respect to their impact on the quality of the larvae (nutritional, microbiological, shelf life) and the drying costs. Additionally, also conventional drying techniques (freeze drying and oven drying) were added to the comparison. In a next step, this comparison will also be made for mealworms.

Microwave drying of BSF larvae

Microwafe-(left) and RF-dried (right) BSF larvae

  • All experiments investigating other processing technologies for WP3 were finished as well. In conclusion, it was proven that:
  1. Low energy electron beam (LEEB) treatment is effective for surface decontamination of oven- or microwave-dried insects. The application of LEEB improves the shelf life of the dried insects.
  2. High-moisture extrusion (HME) is a useful technology to process insects into protein-rich extrudates with good textural and microbiological quality.
  3. High quality protein meals of black soldier fly larvae can be produced by tricanter centrifugation. The process was optimised to reduce the fat content of the meals and to improve digestibility. By addition of an enzymatic treatment, the digestibility was even further improved, but at a higher cost.



Activities on Safety along the Insect Value Chain

Within the work package evaluating the safety of insects for food and feed, lately multiple fate experiments have been performed. In those experiments, insects (focussing on black soldier fly larvae and lesser mealworm) were exposed to intentionally contaminated feed and upon chemical analysis the possible transfer of the chemcial contaminants to the larvae and the frass was evaluated.

In the first experiment, in collaboration with Bestico, black soldier fly larvae were exposed to different veterinary drugs (antibiotics, coccidiostatica and antiparasitic drugs). Only the antiparasitic drug (being eprinomectine) affected larvae growth and yield. For some of the veterinary drugs transfer to the larvae occurred, however experimental data remains to be further analyzed and interpreted in detail.

In the second expeirment, also in collaboration with Bestico, black soldier fly larvae were exposed to hormones, both synthetic and natural hormones and also for this experiment possible transfer of the chemicals to the larvae and frass is currently being evaluated.

In the third experiment, different types of per- and polyfluoroalkly substances were exposed to black soldier fly larvae (in collaboration with Bestico) and will be exposed to lesser mealworm (in collaboration with Ynsect), both in single exposure and in mixture form to additionally evaluate possible interactions between the chemicals on possible uptake in the larvae and transfer into the frass.

In the course of 2023, the remaining samples of aforementioned studies will be analyzed by mass spectrometry and quantified levels of the chemicals will be obtained. Subsequently, results will be interpretated and scientific manuscripts on the obtained results will be prepared.


Overview of experimental containers for experiments with black soldier fly larvae, in collaboration with Bestico


Black soldier fly larvae growing in the experimental container during the experiment.

Activities on Sustainability of insect production & Decision Support System for Insect Value chains

  • SUSINCHAIN Life cycle assessment (LCA) and cost calculation and recommendation tool has been developed. The tool is based on modular LCA and scenario-based life cycle inventory. The tool compares insect species production scenarios to test the sensitivity of results with different feed, processing and utilities, type of end product, packaging and scaling options. The link for the tool is http://susinchain.herokuapp.com/index
  • Industrial guidelines (blueprint Version-1) for sustainable insect value chains being developed to provide an easy to use approach to establish an algorithm-based key guideline to design sustainable insect chains. The scenarios from Multi-objective optimization algorithm NSGA-II are the basis for providing optimal insect production options. The preliminary blueprint report presents the key factor combinations and algorithmic decision trees.

Activities on Exploitation, Communication and Dissemination

SUSINCHAIN 3rd Governing Council meeting was held on 4th October 2022 in Roeselare, Belgium

SUSINCHAIN consortium at the Governing Council meeting in Roeselare, Belgium

The 3rd SUSINCHAIN Governing Council meeting took place in 4th October 2022 in Roeselare, Belgium and was hosted by INAGRO. This annual meeting aims to provide updates regarding the SUSINCHAIN Project. During the day partners have discussed the current status of the SUSINCHAIN project and progress on each Work Package’s activities. Partners have also discussed next steps and the strategy for the last year of the project implementation. This meeting was organized as a hybrid event and was attended by the advisory board members (both physically and online) which provided relevant feedback on the progress reports and advice for strategic project’s decisions.

On the 5th October, INAGRO organized a visit to their own insect breeding and aquaculture facility as well to their greenhouse facility, AGROTOPIA, for the SUSINCHAIN project partners. It was a great opportunity to gain more knowledge about the production and research process.

SUSINCHAIN partners at INAGRO facilities and greenhouse AGROTOPIA

Horizon4protein joint webinar series

The 4th joint webinar on “Sustainability of Alternative Proteins” organized by Horizon4Proteins was successfully held on 22nd September 2022. On behalf of SUSINCHAIN project, Dr. Sergiy Smetana from DIL (WP7 leader) made a presentation on the topic "Optimization of Environmental Impact of Insect Production Chains"



Spotlight & Media Room

A tasting session of pasta sauce with mealworm mince (one of the products produced within WP5) was organised at KU Leuven, Geel, Belgium during the “Day of Science” on 27/11/2022. A small interview during this event was broadcasted on the Flemish news (VRT): https://www.vrt.be/vrtnu/a-z/vrt-nws-journaal/2022/vrt-nws-journaal-vrt-nws-journaal-13u-20221127/?starttime=1080

Tasting session of pasta sauce with mealworm mince at KU Leuven.

Featured News & Articles

  • • Nisrine Mouhrim, Sergiy Smetana, Anita Bhatia, Alexander Mathys, Ashley Green, Daniela Peguero, and Alberto Tonda. 2022. Towards multi-objective optimization of sustainable insect production chains. In Proceedings of the Genetic and Evolutionary Computation Conference Companion (GECCO '22). Association for Computing Machinery, New York, NY, USA, 352–355. https://doi.org/10.1145/3520304.3528898
  • Veldkamp, T., Meijer, N., Alleweldt, F., Deruytter, D., Van Campenhout, L., Gasco, L., ... & van der Fels-Klerx, H. J. (2022). Overcoming Technical and Market Barriers to Enable Sustainable Large-Scale Production and Consumption of Insect Proteins in Europe: A SUSINCHAIN Perspective. Insects, 13(3), 281.
  • Mouhrim, N., Smetana, S., Bhatia, A., Mathys, A., Green, A., Peguero, D., & Tonda, A. (2022) Towards multi-objective optimization of sustainable insect production chains. Genetic and Evolutionary Computation Conference (GECCO ’22), Jul 2022, Boston, MA, United States. pp.352-355, doi: 10.1145/3520304.3528898ff.




Partners & Stakeholders


Call for Supporting Organisations

Please contact Ms. Ana Fernandes 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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