Food enthusiasts interested in sustainable farm practices may soon have a new meat alternative: insects. Beetle larvae (called mealworms) farms produce more edible protein than traditional farms for chicken, pork, beef or milk, for the same amount of land used, according to research published December 19 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Dennis Oonincx and colleagues from the University of Wageningen, Netherlands.
The researchers compared the environmental impact of meat production on a mealworm farm to traditional animal farms using three parameters: Land usage, energy needs, and greenhouse gas emissions. From the start of the process to the point that the meat left the farm, they found that mealworms scored better than the other foods. Per unit of edible protein produced, mealworm farms required less land and similar amounts of energy.
Previous work by the same team, published in PLOS ONE in 2010, has already shown that mealworms themselves produce less greenhouse gases than other animals grown for meat. In this new study, the researchers elaborate on the sustainability of insect proteins as a food by showing that growing mealworms for animal protein requires less land and generate fewer greenhouse gas emissions than chicken, pork, beef or milk.
Commenting on their results, Oonincx adds, "Since the population of our planet keeps growing, and the amount of land on this earth is limited, a more efficient, and more sustainable system of food production is needed. Now, for the first time it has been shown that mealworms, and possibly other edible insects, can aid in achieving such a system."
Public Library of Science: http://www.plos.org
This press release was posted to serve as a topic for discussion. Please comment below. We try our best to only post press releases that are associated with peer reviewed scientific literature. Critical discussions of the research are appreciated. If you need help finding a link to the original article, please contact us on twitter or via e-mail.
New threats to Europe’s birds and habitats directives highlight broader tensions – and opportunities – at the interface between conservation science and policy.
Rivers filled with hippo faeces may sound disgusting, but the excrement provides nutrition for fish and aquatic insects
Carbon emissions from US power stations in 2015 are set to drop to their lowest level for 20 years, as wind, solar and gas replace coal
Apple expands environmental projects to include solar power in China, sustainable timber in US
A new study outlines the danger of a monster wave hitting the Northwest - and how fast people will have to move to outrun it
The follow-up series will feature "never-before-filmed wilderness areas from the ice caps and deep ocean to deserts and remote forests"
Citing a boom in natural gas and shifts in demand, the Energy Information Administration says the U.S. could stop being a net energy importer "sometime between 2020 and 2030."
Frankenstein, famine poetry, polar exploration—the "year without a summer" was just the beginning
David Shukman looks at what could be done on air pollution beyond the annual warnings.
Camera traps set up in the remote highlands of Tibet have captured a new species of macaque – one with hairier neck and scrotum and a rounded penis