Defatted BSFL meal, the best protein-rich substitute for soy

In a research, scientists studied four different inclusions of partly defatted BSFL meal from day 1 to day 35, as a soy alternative to reduce the feed cost.

Defatted BSFL meal, the best protein-rich substitute for soy

Insects, in particular black soldier fly larvae (BSFL), may be the best protein-rich substitute for soy because of their excellent nutritional value and little breeding area requirements. Defatted BSFL meal are a great source of protein and energy (37% to 65%  BSFL is protein), and it has been said that their amino acid composition is better suited for poultry.

However, defatted BSFL meal includes chitin, which might impair protein digestion and, thus, have a negative impact on animal performance.

Effect on growth performance

To evaluate if BSFL is an acceptable component for chicken feed and a soy substitute, some research has been conducted. A longitudinal investigation on the effects of broiler chicken development performance, blood parameters, and intestinal morphology was carried out.

There were 256 male broiler chickens used in the study, and they were fed four different inclusions of partly defatted BSFL meal from day 1 to day 35: a test diet with no BSFL meal, one with 5%, one with 10%, and one with 15% as a soy alternative (and corn gluten meal). The test diet with:

  1. 0% BSFL meal inclusion,
  2. 5%,
  3. 10%, and
  4. 15% as substitute for soy (and corn gluten meal).

Result of Defatted BSFL Meal Research

Diets were iso-energetic and iso-nitrogenous (same nitrogen and caloric content across diets). The findings of this study indicate that male broiler chickens’ daily feed intake and live weight may rise when dietary BSFL meal up to 10% is added, but only during the starting stage (day 1 until day 10). This time period saw substantially faster growth and development of chicken than the eras that followed (growing period from day 10 until day 24, and finisher period from day 24 until day 35).

The greater diet palatability was credited with the increased feed consumption and live weight growth. Chickens tend to prefer feed that contains BSFL meal, as has already been documented.

In comparison to the 5% and 10% inclusion groups, the 15% BSFL group’s feed conversion ratio and live weight suffered during the growth and finishing phases. The 15% BSFL meal diet’s chitin concentration was thought to have a detrimental impact on the digestion of the protein.

Another research, however, discovered that after 34 days, the live weight and carcass weight of broiler chicken fed with 16% defatted BSFL meal inclusion were greater than the weights of the control bird (BSFL substituted for soy).

Here, it was hypothesized that the larger amount of crude protein and the chitin content, which didn’t appear to affect protein digestion, were most likely the causes.

The quality of broiler meat Altmann and colleagues examined how the meat quality and sensory characteristics of breast fillets of broiler chicken that were packaged using highly oxygenated modified atmosphere packaging (HiOx MAP) over time changed in accordance with the current industrial packaging procedures.

When compared to breast fillets from the control group, breast fillets from broiler chicken that received defatted BSFL meal as substitute for 50% of the soy (total inclusion during starter period was 19.5% and during grower period 16%) appeared to have a more potent flavor when it was fresh (no dietary BSFL meal inclusion).

Three days and then seven days after packing, the flavor strength started to fade. The control group’s breast fillet’s flavor intensity similarly reduced 3 days after packing but, surprisingly, was discovered to increase once again after 7 days. No justifications were offered for the BSFL group’s breast fillet’s steadily declining flavor intensity.

However, it was noted that some consumers prefer less intense flavors, which might be a selling factor.

When compared to breast fillet from the control group, breast fillet from the BSFL meal group had more consistent pH values from fresh until 7 days after packing.

The introduction of BSFL was thought to contribute to a longer shelf-life. Researchers found that they can use up to 50% of the entire insect meal in another study. Researchers’ team is working on this since the poultry industry now needs it. This is the only method to lessen or resolve the poultry industry’s dilemma.

Defatted BSFL meal Effect on egg production

The Defatted BSFL meal consumption has an effect on egg production as well. These meals were used as a soybean replacement at 5% and 7.5% in an 8-week study in 108 individual 19-week-old pullets (Shaver White), that were given a regular corn-soybean meal diet.

In this case, corn was gradually added while soy and BSFL amounts were decreased. The authors did not, however, explain the rationale for these modifications. According to Shaver White’s commercial management recommendations, this might have been done to provide isocaloric and isonitrogenous meals and satisfy the nutritional needs of 19-week-old pullets.

However, the findings demonstrated that inclusion of 7.5% of defatted BSFL meal resulted in comparable egg production, average egg weight, and egg quality parameters in comparison to the control diet (analyzed at day 5 of weeks 22, 24, and 26).

On the other hand, 5% inclusion led to noticeably less daily egg output. Additionally, the egg weight and mass were much less than those produced by control chickens.

The identical findings between the control and 7.5% BSFL inclusion groups were explained by earlier researchers the hens in the 7.5% BSFL inclusion group consuming considerably more feed than the control and 5% BSFL inclusion groups.

According to previous research, feeding BSFL considerably improved the yolk color, shell breaking strength, and shell thickness. These values may have increased due to increased calcium absorption and/or calcium metabolism in the chickens’ intestines.


As we know that Pakistan is facing a soybean shortage nowadays, so we need some alternative to replace soy. So this thing can be done. We can add 10% whole insect meal to the feed of broiler either layer, which can help us to minimize the feed cost as we know that feed prices are directly proportionate to soy bean price.

This article is jointly written by Dr. Baseer Ahmad1 and Abdul Samad2 from 1 Department of Animal Feed and Production, FV&AS MNS University of Agriculture Multan, Pakistan, and 2 Department of Poultry Science, FV&AS MNS University of Agriculture Multan, Pakistan.


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