Insects for nutrients and decontaminates bred
By producing laboratory non-pathogenic insects a Universidad Nacional de Colombia (UNal) interdisciplinary group is hoping to offer nutrition and consumption alternatives for plants and animals and also work on decontaminating water sources.Bogotá D. C., 12 de octubre de 2016 — Agencia de Noticias UN-
A group of UNal biologists, agronomists, veterinarians and zootechnicians ascribed to the Deputy Rector's Office of Research has been working for the last 5 years with an ample variety of insects, including crickets, cockroaches, mealworms and the black soldier fly with the purpose of observing their organic matter decomposition capability as well as a food source for birds and fish.
“People from other faculties and inclusively from other universities want to become part of this research process and from where several masters and undergraduate thesis projects are stemming from,” said UNal Zootechnician and Professor Julián Pineda.
These systems behave in a comprehensive, self-sustainable, economic and efficient form. Therefore the research group has an insect producing laboratory working under controlled conditions. For instance, the black soldier fly is not a disease vector should be used in larval stage and will contribute to improve revenue of small producers.
“As this type of food may be produced in a farm setting, the costs of transportation, preservation and packing are reduced, therefore the farmer can allot his resources to other needs”, said Juan Sebastián Gómez, also part of the project.
“Our laboratory is completely equipped and has a breeding area made from resources coming from students and alums that develop part of the research projects using these facilities,” said Pineda.
For instance for the black soldier fly they have engineered a whole laboratory production system with the purpose of maintaining a breeding stock to carry out multiple research projects.
“Chitosan comes from chitin production (a non-digestible protein found in any part of an insect) which essentially may be used for heavy metal ion removal. Insects may also be used for organic waste material management and disposal according to it growth stage,” said Pineda.
The insectarium has several insect breeding models and protocols in place with the purpose of harboring several growth stages which can help to exploit each line of the project.
In this manner while larvae are normally used for nutrition and organic matter decomposition, adult insects are usually used for water decontamination as their percentage of chitin is higher in comparison to the larval stages.
“All insects have different developmental stages: egg, larva, in some cases pupa and adult stage, when they reach sexual maturity they begin to reproduce and start the process once again,” said the zootechnician.
To date the research group has associated with UNal projects with some type of extension, besides providing consultancies to all parties interested in decomposition by using insects in small scale.
With the purpose of producing fertilizers which may be used in agronomy, veterinary and zootechnique field practices, they hope that in a short period of time this type of research projects may be applied to joint projects, for instance in university restaurants.(Por: Fin/JCMG/MLA/LOF