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See detailBelgian Grasshoppers: A Nutritious Food Source
Paul, Aman ULg; Frederich, Michel ULg; Blecker, Christophe ULg et al

Poster (2014, May 14)

Rapid urbanization and rising economies are creating shifts in the composition of global food demand, so it is necessary to explore new sources of food with better nutritional profile. Among the ... [more ▼]

Rapid urbanization and rising economies are creating shifts in the composition of global food demand, so it is necessary to explore new sources of food with better nutritional profile. Among the alternative food that exists are the grasshoppers, about 80 species of which are consumed worldwide. Grasshoppers are not only rich source of proteins and lipids but also some important minor component like vitamins and minerals. Edible species of grasshopper in Belgium were identified and attempts were made for the lab rearing of meadow grasshopper (Chorthippus parallelus). The lipids as well as protein contents of meadow grasshopper (Chorthippus parallelus) & long winged conehead (Conocephalus discolor) were investigated. The fatty acid compositions of these two species were determined by gas chromatography. Some of the physicochemical properties of the lipids extracted were also analyzed. These two grasshopper species could be really nutritious source of food. [less ▲]

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See detailLocusts and Grasshoppers: Future Foods?
Paul, Aman ULg; Frederich, Michel ULg; Uyttenbroeck, Roel ULg et al

Scientific conference (2014, May 08)

Consuming locusts and grasshoppers as food is not a new concept, because some people have been doing it for a long time and there are many references in the religious literature to support this. About 80 ... [more ▼]

Consuming locusts and grasshoppers as food is not a new concept, because some people have been doing it for a long time and there are many references in the religious literature to support this. About 80 locust and grasshopper species are consumed worldwide, and the large majority of grasshopper species are edible. From the nutritional point of view they are an excellent source of proteins, lipids and other minor components like vitamins and minerals. They are an excellent source of amino acids and their lipids contain a large majority of unsaturated fatty acids. Environmentalists have supported human consumption of grasshoppers owing to the facts that they usually appear as pests. Using them as food could help reduce their population and result in limited application of harmful pesticides. Their production usually generates lesser amount of greenhouse gases & ammonia; a lower amount of water is required for their production in comparison to conventional proteins sources. Some species of grasshoppers usually feed on dead organic matter, this reduces the environmental load. In the developing world, catching of grasshoppers and selling them for human consumption has played a key role in improving the livelihood of women and underprivileged children. Eating grasshopper and locust is not a very common practice in temperate areas. However it is a very common practice in the tropical areas of world because of the higher density, bigger size of the insect and yearlong availability in such areas. To encourage their consumption in temperate areas, it is now necessary to perform accurate research regarding food safety (minor components, toxicity, allergens,…) but also to develop value added products to make it easier for people to adapt with entomophagy. Furthermore we have to develop methods for commercial production and organize awareness campaigns to explain about the nutritional and other benefits related to locust & grasshopper consumption as food to people. [less ▲]

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See detailConservatoire entomologique de Gembloux Agro-Bio Tech: les coccinelles de Wallonie et de Bruxelles de 2001 à 2009
Vandereycken, Axel ULg; Fassotte, Bérénice ULg; Durieux, Delphine ULg et al

Poster (2014, April 02)

Un inventaire des Coccinellidae présents au sein de la collection de l’unité d’Entomologie fonctionnelle et évolutive (ULg - Gembloux Agro-Bio Tech) a été réalisé sur la période s’étendant de 2001 à 2009 ... [more ▼]

Un inventaire des Coccinellidae présents au sein de la collection de l’unité d’Entomologie fonctionnelle et évolutive (ULg - Gembloux Agro-Bio Tech) a été réalisé sur la période s’étendant de 2001 à 2009. Cette collection est essentiellement constituée par les récoltes des étudiants de première Bachelier de Gembloux Agro-Bio Tech. A travers ce recensement, nous avons étudié l’évolution des espèces récoltées au sein de cette famille en termes d’effectif relatif et de richesse spécifique. Notre étude s’est focalisée sur les données issues de Wallonie et de la Région de Bruxelles-Capitale, trop peu de collectes ayant été réalisées en Flandre. Parmi les individus identifiés, 27 espèces ont été observées, dont 21 appartiennent à la sous-famille des Coccinellinae, 2 à celle des Epilachninae et 4 à celle des Chilocorinae. La plupart des espèces sont communes à la Belgique. Cependant, Harmonia axyridis (Pallas 1773), espèce originaire du sud-est de l’Asie, a été introduite sur le territoire belge en 1997. Cette coccinelle exotique fait son apparition dans les récoltes de 2002 et son effectif ne cesse d’augmenter au fil des années prospectées. En parallèle à cette augmentation, une diminution de la richesse spécifique, ainsi que de l’effectif relatif d’Adalia bipunctata (L. 1758), de Propylea quatuordecimpunctata (L. 1758) et de Psyllobora vigintiduopunctata (L. 1758), est observée. [less ▲]

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See detailStudy of sex ratio and morphotypes of the Multicoloured Asian Ladybird, Harmonia axyridis Pallas in Belgian corn
Vandereycken, Axel ULg; Fassotte, Bérénice ULg; Barsics, Fanny ULg et al

Poster (2014, April 02)

Several insect species are known to have different morphotypes, an adaptation to heterogeneities in changing environments. This phenotypic plasticity could be a factor used by the Multicoloured Asian ... [more ▼]

Several insect species are known to have different morphotypes, an adaptation to heterogeneities in changing environments. This phenotypic plasticity could be a factor used by the Multicoloured Asian Ladybird, which is considered as an invasive species in Europe since its introduction in the 80’s. Harmonia axyridis has four major morphotypes: 2 melanic forms, conspicua and spectabilis; and 2 non-melanic, succinea and axyridis. In Belgium, only the three first are observed. Literature reports variations in morphotype frequencies, across native and introduced strains. These variations seem to be linked to climate (geographical and seasonal variation), with non-melanic forms being the most abundant in hot and arid climate. This study focused on the variation of morphotype abundance in H. axyridis according to season, field and gender. Adult ladybirds were caught from mid-July to mid-October 2012 into 5 corn fields. The proportions of observed morphotypes were compared according to the sampling season. The abundance of morphotypes was not significantly different through the fields; the observed ratios were 81.6%, 15% and 3.4% for succinea, spectabilis and conspicua respectively. Succinea was the most observed morphotype (χ2=755.8; P<0.001). The total number of collected males and females was the same with ratios of 48.2% and 51.8%: (χ2=0.93; P=0.33). The sex ratio was also not significantly different for each morphotype. There was no evolution of melanic and non-melanic form ratio according to the season, with 25.6% of melanic form in summer and 20.6% in autumn (χ2=1.22; P=0.27). Our results seem to show that morphotype adaptation according to the climate is not observed for Belgian ladybirds. We discuss these results according to all environmental data available. [less ▲]

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See detailFirst evidence of a volatile sex pheromone in the invasive Harmonia axyridis (Pallas) (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae)
Fassotte, Bérénice ULg; Fischer, Christophe ULg; Durieux, Delphine ULg et al

Conference (2014, April 02)

Data about sex pheromones, or any semiochemicals that play a role in Coccinellid mating, remain limited. Since years, various studies and behavioral observations have hypothesized that such molecules are ... [more ▼]

Data about sex pheromones, or any semiochemicals that play a role in Coccinellid mating, remain limited. Since years, various studies and behavioral observations have hypothesized that such molecules are involved in sexual communication of ladybeetles. In this study, we collected volatile organic compounds released by virgin females of the multicolored Asian ladybeetle, Harmonia axyridis (Pallas), which were either allowed or not allowed to feed on aphids. In the presence of aphids, virgin females exhibited “calling behavior”, which has been associated with the emission of a sex pheromone in several Coleoptera species. Bioassays showed that these females released a blend of volatile compounds that is involved in the attraction of males. Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry analyses highlighted specific volatile cues emanating from females, whereas males did not produce these compounds. Five components were identified: (–)-β-caryophyllene, β elemene, methyl-eugenol, α humulene, and α bulnesene. All compounds were produced after virgin females were fed aphids, and their quantity increased across the experimental period. The results confirm that female H. axyridis produce a volatile sex pheromone. Therefore, this study provides important biological information that could promote the development of efficient pest control management methods to manipulate the movements of this invasive ladybeetle, and to reduce its negative impacts on biodiversity. [less ▲]

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See detailA pheromone-based formulation against phytophagous pests
Fassotte, Bérénice ULg; Vandereycken, Axel ULg; Heuskin, Stéphanie ULg et al

Poster (2014, April 02)

Innovative integrated pest management methods are needed to overcome market withdrawal of synthetic pesticides. Therefore, the identification of environment-friendly bio-products carrying direct or ... [more ▼]

Innovative integrated pest management methods are needed to overcome market withdrawal of synthetic pesticides. Therefore, the identification of environment-friendly bio-products carrying direct or indirect biocide activity is one promising alternative option. Our researches focus on the identification of appropriate formulations releasing volatile organic compounds that are attractive for natural enemies of insect pests. However, the elaboration of slow-release devices that ensure stable and controlled release of active volatile compounds is quite challenging. Here, we developed a formulation based on E-β-farnesene and (–)-β-caryophyllene, these two semiochemicals having strong attractive potential on aphid natural enemies including ladybeetles and hoverflies. Both compounds were encapsulated together in alginate gel beads. The blend efficiency is currently being evaluated through laboratory and field assays. [less ▲]

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See detailImpacts of earthworms on soil components and dynamics. A review
Lemtiri, Aboulkacem ULg; Colinet, Gilles ULg; Alabi, Taofic ULg et al

in Biotechnologie, Agronomie, Société et Environnement = Biotechnology, Agronomy, Society and Environment [=BASE] (2014), 18

Earthworm populations are important decomposers contributing to aggregate formation and nutrient cycling processes involving nitrogen cycles, phosphorus and carbon. They are known to influence soil ... [more ▼]

Earthworm populations are important decomposers contributing to aggregate formation and nutrient cycling processes involving nitrogen cycles, phosphorus and carbon. They are known to influence soil fertility by participating to important processes in soil such as soil structure regulation and organic matter dynamics. Earthworms also modify the microbial communities through digestion, stimulation and dispersion in casts. Consequently, changes in the activities of earthworm communities, as a result of soil management practices, can also be used as indicators of soil fertility and quality. It is therefore important to understand how earthworm communities affect soil dynamics. This review adresses the current state of knowledge on earthworm’s impacts on soil structure and soil organic matter (carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus) dynamics, with special emphasis on the effects of land management practices on earthworm communities. [less ▲]

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See detailComparaison des populations de Culicoides Latreille 1809 (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae) présentes au sein d’une bergerie belge et d’une prairie ovine associée
Zimmer, Jean-Yves ULg; Losson, Bertrand ULg; Saegerman, Claude et al

in Annales de la Société Entomologique de France (2014), 49(4), 446-459

Culicoides biting midges (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae) serve as biological vectors for several pathogens, including the Bluetongue virus and the recently described Schmallenberg virus in northern Europe ... [more ▼]

Culicoides biting midges (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae) serve as biological vectors for several pathogens, including the Bluetongue virus and the recently described Schmallenberg virus in northern Europe. These diseases have caused considerable direct and indirect economic losses to the sheep and cattle industries. This study undertaken between August and December 2007 on a sheep farm in the Namur province (Belgium) aims to evaluate Culicoides populations present inside a partially opened sheepfold and in a nearby sheep meadow, using light traps. The comparative analysis of insects trapped at 18 dates at regular intervals showed that Culicoides were most abundant Inside this livestock building (17,450 midges) than in surrounding meadow (1,121 midges); this meadow had however a greater species diversity. The two species C. obsoletus and C. scoticus constituting the Obsoletus complex predominated for all trappings and females were much more numerous than males. Important capture of engorged females of the Obsoletus complex inside the sheepfold seems to reflect the possibility of an opportunistic endophagous behavior. Maintaining sheep inside livestock buildings in order to reduce the risk of Culicoides bites – and thus of pathogens transmission – however requires to limit biting midge populations which are likely to enter or to develop inside these buildings. Implementation of effective sanitation and hygiene measures against midges present inside farms, as well as establishing of measures to protect livestock against intrusion and improvement of “midge-proofing” of animal housing are therefore highly recommended. [less ▲]

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See detailEffects of Eisenia fetida on metal uptake of heavy metals from polluted soils by Vicia faba and Zea Mays
Lemtiri, Aboulkacem ULg; Liénard, Amandine ULg; Francis, Frédéric ULg et al

Poster (2014, February 26)

Earthworms are known to increase availability of heavy metals in soils and also play an important role in maintaining the structure and quality of soil. The introduction of earthworms into soils ... [more ▼]

Earthworms are known to increase availability of heavy metals in soils and also play an important role in maintaining the structure and quality of soil. The introduction of earthworms into soils contaminated with metals has been suggested as an aid for phytoremediation processes. In Belgium (Wallonia), a century of industrial metallurgic activities produced significant heavy metal soil pollution. A large q u a n t i t y o f s m e l t e r w a s t e c r e a t e d a g r a d i e n t o f zi n c, lead and cadmium c o n c e n t r a t i o n . The objectives of our study were to evaluate : (i) the potential toxicity of heavy metal elements on the epigeic earthworms Eisenia fetida and on two plants Zea mays and Vicia faba and (ii) to determine the effects of the earthworms on the growth and contaminants phytoextraction process. The combination of behavioural factor measurements (survival, growth, reproduction of earthworms), physico-chemical parameters such as metal absorption, bioaccumulation by earthworms, soil physico-chemical changes, and plant responses (root and shoot elongation, dried biomass,…) provided a valuable indication of pollutant bioavailability and ecotoxicity. After 56-days exposure, the results suggest that adult earthworms have a strong tolerance for heavy metals exposure, but the responses depend on metal elements. Earthworms modify the bioavailable heavy metals in root and shoot in the contaminated soils and their activities alter shoot and root biomass of V. faba and Z. mays. The presence of earthworms led to a change in physico-chemical caracteristics in contaminated soils. These results show that the ecological context for phytoremediation should be broadened by considering earthwom – plant – soil interactions as they influence both plant health and absorption of heavy metals. [less ▲]

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See detailPhysico-chemical properties and aroma profile of Acacia Honey produced in Romania
Madas, Mariana-Niculina ULg; Francis, Frédéric ULg; Marghitas, L.A. et al

in Communications in Agricultural and Applied Biological Sciences (2014, February 07), 79(1), 133-135

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See detailThree aspects, One concept: Agroecology. Agroecological practices and human interactions for a new approach for science. An example at the Univeristy of Liege.
Hatt, Séverin ULg; Artru, Sidonie ULg; Boeraeve, Fanny et al

Poster (2014, February 07)

Critics are raising about conventional farming and its consequences on biodiversity, human health and society. As alternatives, novel models for agriculture are proposed, and among them Agroecology. Quite ... [more ▼]

Critics are raising about conventional farming and its consequences on biodiversity, human health and society. As alternatives, novel models for agriculture are proposed, and among them Agroecology. Quite often, Agroecology is seen as the application of ecological knowledge to the agricultural production. Indeed, this helps to develop more ecological farming practices favoring biodiversity to provide ecosystem services at multiple scales. Agroecology goes further in considering that the agricultural production is integrated in a food system guided by human interactions. This latter one takes into account socio-economic and political dimensions to develop new production systems. Doing so, it assures food security worldwide while preserving resources for future generations. Facing these ambitious objectives, academics are invited to elaborate a new approach for science in developing participatory and action-oriented approaches as well as multidisciplinarity. AgricultureIsLife is a research platform built up at the University of Liège (ULg). In 2013, 40 researchers (including 18 young researchers) from 16 research units of ULg were working in a multidisciplinary approach. About twenty research topics have been divided in four research axes of which objectives are to develop a more sustainable agriculture. The platform has the ambition to discuss its results to a large comity gathering the actors of the agricultural development. The aim of our work is firstly to present Agrocology as a concept made of three interrelated aspects. To illustrate it, the organization and objectives of the research platform AgricultureIsLife will be discussed in a second part. [less ▲]

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See detailTechnologie de production de masse d’insectes - INSECTECH
Richard, Gaetan ULg; Hance, Thierry; Fauconnier, Marie-Laure ULg et al

Report (2014)

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See detailIsolation of an amylolytic chrysophyte, Poterioochromonas sp. from the digestive tract of the termite R. santonensis
Tarayre, Cédric ULg; Bauwens, Julien ULg; Brasseur, Catherine ULg et al

in Biotechnologie, Agronomie, Société et Environnement = Biotechnology, Agronomy, Society and Environment [=BASE] (2014), 18(1),

The aim of this work was the isolation and cultivation of amylolytic protists living in the digestive tract of the termite Reticulitermes santonensis (Feytaud). A chrysophyte identified as ... [more ▼]

The aim of this work was the isolation and cultivation of amylolytic protists living in the digestive tract of the termite Reticulitermes santonensis (Feytaud). A chrysophyte identified as Poterioochromonas sp. was isolated in a special medium containing rice grains as a source of carbon and nitrogen. Then, the protist was grown in a medium containing starch as a carbon source, tryptone, and a phosphate buffer at different pH values (5, 6 and 7). Yeast extract was added or not. Ciprofloxacin was used to avoid the bacterial development. Other antibiotics were also tested but showed an inhibitive effect on the growth of Poterioochromonas sp. Yeast extract allowed reaching 1.9 (pH 5), 2.3 (pH 6) and 2.2 (pH 7) times higher final cell concentrations, and 2.8 (pH 5), 2.8 (pH 6) and 2.2 (pH 7) times higher biomass yields. The starch concentration did not decrease in the medium until 3 and 4 days of culture, with and without yeast extract, respectively. Eight days of culture were necessary for hydrolyzing the starch completely, with and without yeast extract. Maltose and maltotriose were detected in the culture media and were hydrolyzed progressively. Maximal maltose concentrations were 0.68, 0.66 and 0.51 g.l-1 in the medium containing yeast extract. Maltotriose concentrations were only 0.17, 0.14 and 0.12 g.l-1. Other glucose oligomers were also detected but in lower quantities. It was determined that the protist developed a weak amylase activity, particularly at a weakly acidic pH (5-6). Such a pH also allowed a better growth of the protist. A maximal amylase activity of 112 nkat.l-1 was measured with yeast extract at pH 5. No other enzymatic activity (protease, cellulase or xylanase) was detected except amylase. The degradation products of starch which were obtained by enzymatic hydrolysis allow the identification of α-amylase, amyloglucosidase and possibly β-amylase activities. [less ▲]

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See detailStudy of the potentiality of insect breeding system for human food in Cambodia (Ratanakiri province)
Caparros Megido, Rudy ULg; Alabi, Taofic ULg; Nieus, Clément et al

Conference (2014)

The main purpose of this work was to optimize a cheap cricket breeding production for local farmers based on unused wild resources. Cricket development (Teleogryllus testaceus (Walker)) was compared ... [more ▼]

The main purpose of this work was to optimize a cheap cricket breeding production for local farmers based on unused wild resources. Cricket development (Teleogryllus testaceus (Walker)) was compared according to seven diets composed of different ratio of aerial parts of taro, young cassava leaves, young cashew leaves, brown rice flour (with or without banana slices) and between the traditionally used chicken feed diet. Cricket mortality was low on all diets (<10 %) excepted on the two cashew-based diets (>90 %). Mean adult body mass was significantly higher on chicken feed diet and on the two cassava-based diet than on the other. Moreover, protein percentage in cassava-feed crickets was similar with this of wild crickets. As each villager grows cassava for their tubers without using the leaves, this free available resource could be used to rear crickets in order to contribute to the reduction of protein deficiency and create new source of incomes for local farmers. [less ▲]

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See detailConsumer acceptance of insect-based products
Caparros Megido, Rudy ULg; Gierts, Chloé; Blecker, Christophe ULg et al

Conference (2014)

In this study, sociocultural and food formulation aspects related to edible insects were investigated on Belgian consumers. Hedonic tests were realized to assess the acceptability of insect-based burgers ... [more ▼]

In this study, sociocultural and food formulation aspects related to edible insects were investigated on Belgian consumers. Hedonic tests were realized to assess the acceptability of insect-based burgers and insect-based breads. In the first experiment, four burgers (beef, lentil, beef/insect and lentil/insect) were presented to the participants. In the second experiment, entire mealworms, mealworm bread and mealworm crepes were presented to the participants. No difference of appreciations was noticed between a beef and a beef/insect burger and between a lentil and a lentil/insect burger. Crepes made of mealworm flour were slightly preferred in comparison with mealworm bread and entire mealworms. These results confirm that shape and appearance but also popularization and information spreading are key conditions in the acceptation of insect products in western countries and that insects will preferentially be consumed, in the future, if they are presented in an invisible way and associated with familiar flavors. [less ▲]

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See detailAphid honeydew: An arrestant and a contact kairomone for Episyrphus balteatus (Diptera: Syrphidae) larvae and adults
Leroy, Pascal; Almohamad, Raki; Attia, Sabrine et al

in European Journal of Entomology (2014), 111(2), 237-242

Predator searching efficiency increases in response to a variety of environmental cues associated with its prey. The sugary excretion of aphids (honeydew) has been found to act as a prey-associated cue ... [more ▼]

Predator searching efficiency increases in response to a variety of environmental cues associated with its prey. The sugary excretion of aphids (honeydew) has been found to act as a prey-associated cue for many aphid natural enemies. In the present study, the honeydew excreted by Acyrthosiphon pisum (Harris) was identified as an arrestant and a contact kairomone for young larvae and adults of a common predatory hoverfly, Episyrphus balteatus (De Geer) (Diptera: Syrphidae). First and second instar larvae increased their foraging behaviour in the honeydew-treated area. When plants were sprayed with crude honeydew, the speed of movement of female E. balteatus was significantly higher than in controls, resulting in a longer period of time spent on treated plants and laying eggs. We conclude that the honeydew excreted by A. pisum induces searching behaviour and acts as and arrestant not only for adults but also for young E. balteatus larvae. [less ▲]

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See detailOptimization of cricket breeding production system for human food in Ratanakiri province (Cambodia)
Caparros Megido, Rudy ULg; Alabi, Taofic ULg; Nieus, Clément et al

Poster (2014)

Despite many natural resources, Cambodia is considered as a relatively poor country with a Gross National Income per capita averaging about 880 USD in 2012. Annâdya project in the Ratanakiri province ... [more ▼]

Despite many natural resources, Cambodia is considered as a relatively poor country with a Gross National Income per capita averaging about 880 USD in 2012. Annâdya project in the Ratanakiri province (Cambodia) aims to improve the food security and nutrition of smallholder households by introducing and facilitating the adoption of productive and environmentally sustainable agricultural technologies. The main purpose of this work was to optimize a cheap cricket breeding production system for local farmers to contribute to the reduction of protein deficiency and to create new source of incomes. Cricket development, Teleogryllus testaceus (Walker), was compared between seven diets composed of different ratio of aerial parts of taro, young cassava leaves, young cashew leaves, brown rice flour (with or without the addition of banana slices) and between the traditionally used chicken feed diet. Cricket mortality was relatively low on all diets (<10 %) excepted on the two cashew-based diets where mortality achieves 90 %. Mean adult body mass of the cricket was significantly higher on control diet (chicken feed) and on the two cassava-based diet (80% of cassava leave flour, 20% of brown rice with or without banana slices) than on the other diets (F = 20.87, P<0.001). The nutritional analyzes of the seven diets shows that the ideal diet should contain 19% protein, 5-6% fat, and a percentage of carbohydrates as high as possible. While the cricket mass body gain seems to be proportional to the carbohydrate content of the diet, the use of older cassava leaves, more rich in carbohydrates than the younger ones, is an interesting solution to substitute relatively expensive brown rice and banana slices also consumed by local population. In the future, consideration should be given to the adjustment of cassava leave maturity in function of the cricket growth stage as it is already done with chicken feed in Thai cricket farms. [less ▲]

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