Protein requirement and its demand of farm animals became one of the critical problems in nutrition on a global scale. Protein requirement has been an explicit demand for a long period with soybean meal and animal protein, but recently there are some limitations in relation to their use and the availability of the high quality fishmeal decrease...s constantly. For this reason there is increased demand for finding new protein sources which could be the alternatives of soybean meal and fishmeal. Alternative protein sources can be divided into seven categories, according to their origin. In different countries, their use depends on the availability in large quantity and at reasonable price.
There is a long tradition of using legume seeds, as alternatives of soybean. Most of them contain some anti-nutritive compounds, but it can be reduced with systematic selection. Oilseed meals are also generally use in poultry and pig nutrition, but those crude protein content varied, depending on the oil extraction technology. Green fodder and leaf protein was also proposed as alternative protein sources, but their use is limited, in particular because of the market price. The amount of bioethanol and starch industry by-products increases gradually in recent years, therefore those became alternatives of soybean meal, or in much less extend, fishmeal. However, amino acid composition of such by-products are far from optimal for poultry and pig; therefore, in the case of their use amino acid supplementation is necessary. Several novel protein sources are proposed in the last decade, such as algae or insect proteins. Recently, their availability and use is limited, but in the near future those would be alternative protein sources in monogastric animal nutrition.
The consumption of insect protein, as well as its use in animal feeding, has become a trend. This trend is particularly receiving a lot of attention in animal nutrition because the current protein source of the highest quality in animal feeding which is fishmeal is unsustainable, expensive and its demand is higher than supply. Insect protei...n can be of great potential in combating world hunger as the world population continues to increase. The potential of insect protein is wide-ranging, it could improve the economics of feed production, lead to cleaner production due to its low environmental footprint.
This review focuses on the need, (nutritional and environmental) advantages of insect protein in feed production, as well as previous research findings.
The unanimous conclusion of the reviewed papers is that insect protein has a great potential in feed production in terms of nutritional value, environmental implication, sustainability as well as economic implication.
However, there is a need for the intensification of research on this alternative protein source in Europe, especially in aquaculture due to the approval of 7 insect species in aquafeeds by the European Union. Another reason for the intensification is that there is still much to be done as a result of past research which shows that growth effects vary based on species and inclusion level.