Chemistry Students

Student Supervision

Case Assignments for BSc and MSc students.

Apart from conducting research, I also participate in supervising students' academic work at bachelor and master degree levels. I enjoy performing this activity.

Supervisory tasks completed

Course code: ENT21306

Course title: Insects for food and feed

Duration of case study: 3 weeks

Institution: Wageningen University & Research, Wageningen, Netherlands.

 

Activities: 

  • Formulate case study topic 

  • Assign topic to groups of students

  • Hold series of meetings with student to follow up and guide progress in the case study 

  • Give feedback on student questions, written reports, etc.

  • Assess end of case study reports as part (35%) of the course​

Method of assessment: Final reports are evaluated using an assessment rubric​

Experience/Students supervised: 

2018/2019 academic year:

Group assignment: 3 groups, total of 17 students

Farming insects for feed and livelihood: which factors to consider?

Farming insects provides not only feed for animals but also employment opportunities and income, especially among vulnerable human populations and promotes small- and medium-scale agribusinesses in low- and middle-income countries. The growing attention for insects as feed and/or food indicates that insects can play a significant role in eradicating poverty and food insecurity in resource-poor communities. The use of insects as alternative protein ingredients in livestock and aquaculture production requires huge biomass and this requirement can only be achieved through mass rearing. Insects constitute a high quality feed and have a high feed conversion. However, different insect species feed on, and convert different food materials to body biomass. Several edible insect species have been considered for mass production. To engage in a technologically feasible, economically viable and ecologically sustainable insect farming, it is important to understand some of the fundamental inputs (such as rearing substrates required) and the nutritional output/composition of the potential insect species, which are known to be variable between and within species.

Your team has been contacted by a non-governmental organization (NGO) in Cameroon that seeks to invest in insect farming to provide insect meal for the livestock and aquaculture feed sectors. You are expected to: 1. conduct a comprehensive literature search and provide information on the available food substrates for insect rearing, nutritional composition of the different insect species, feed conversion, developmental time, and microbial safety of the insects used as feed. A minimum of five insect species, including the black soldier fly (Hermetia illucens) should be targeted in your report. 2. Make a comparative summary based on the information in section 1, bringing out the advantages of farming one or more insect species over the others in order to guide the NGO on selecting a particular insect species for its mass production operation.

2020/2021 Academic Year:

A: Group assignment: 2 groups, total of 9 students

Insects as feed: species selection for a sustainable production on organic waste

Organic solid waste (OSW) constitutes an environmental problem, but currently it is viewed as an appealing opportunity for business. Processing of OSW by insect larvae is a promising waste treatment technology, due to their waste reduction potential while producing valuable products and has a great potential in areas where organic waste is the main fraction of municipal solid waste. Bioconverting waste, reduces landfill space requirements and greenhouse gas emissions. Furthermore, upcycling nutrients from organic waste through larvae production and providing these as an alternative to fish meal or soy beans for animal feed is a more sustainable way of producing protein for animal feed. Globally, three insect species including the black soldier fly Hermetia illucens, housefly Musca domestica and the yellow mealworm Tenebrio molitor are seen as the most promising species in the bioconversion of organic waste.

Insects however respond differently to the biotic and abiotic factors and utilize a variety of food sources with different nutritional characteristics. Selecting one of these species and balancing its nutrient requirements with the organic waste is essential for low cost production of insect protein.

For this case assignment, you are contacted by a potential startup company that plans to set up an insect-based waste treatment facility with the aim of producing insect protein as a sustainable feed ingredient for livestock. As a team of experts in the production and use of insects as feed, which of the above-mentioned insect species would you recommend, and why? In this assignment, you are expected to provide advice to guide the startup company realize its aim, and to achieve this, you are required to review scientific literature and,

  1. Provide a comparative analysis of the characteristics that allow these insect species to be domesticated and fed using organic waste. Pay attention to technical (nutritional and productive-breeding capabilities in captivity, growth, waste reduction/conversion), environmental, and health related aspects of producing the insects

  2. Summarize the advantages and disadvantages of farming these species, with emphasis on the environmental and economic sustainability, and based on your findings,

  3. Make a concise recommendation to the startup company, directing the company on one insect species in order to maximize chances of producing a high nutritional quality and environmentally sustainable feed ingredient for the animal feed sector.

 

​B: Field work Project - 3 students

Effect of frass-soil treatment on plant growth and oviposition preference of Delia radicum

Concluding Remarks of the project: 

This study succeeded in determining the main effects of a frass treatment on Brassica rapa performance and its attractiveness to oviposition by Delia radicum females in field conditions. We suggest further testing to increase plant performance on frass-exposed soil. Frass seems to successfully decrease D. radicum infection rates and can therefore potentially be used as a natural insect pest repellent. The results of this study further pave the way to determine how natural mechanisms and industry by-products may be used in the struggle against pests in agriculture.

Full final report: Available on request

C: Academic Consultancy Traing (ACT) - 7 Students

Circular Farm: How to synergize Pig and Insect Farming

Description of the assignment:

Emissions and nutrient losses from livestock farming are critiqued widely. Swipigs Farms is aware of these critiques and wants to adapt to reach a circular farm. One of the opportunities we identified is improved use of pig manure by using it as an input for insect production. This opportunity links well to another difficulty that we face, the increased prices and demand of plant-based protein.

 

We hope to link the two by recycling pig manure to use as an input for insect farming. We need your assistance to study in what ways we could effectively and safely set-up an insect-farming business, while considering our desire for a circular farm. Ideally we would use the insects as animal feed, replacing part of the plant based protein, and even produce insects for human consumption.

 

There are sub-questions on:

  • Which system do we need to comply to human and animal health regulations?

  • How to guarantee food safety?

  • How to be efficient in reducing ‘waste’ streams?

  • What is an feasible business case?

 

The expected outcome: we would like you to present us with the most promising scenarios that is effective in nutrient recycling, financially feasible and safe in terms of human and animal health. This should include a description on insect farming and processing, such as: production cycles, infrastructural needs, inputs and outputs.
These finding could be presented in a final report incl. business model canvas.

Remarks: 

We found that from four selected insect species, two showed promise for large-scale production: the black soldier fly (Hermetia Illucens) and the house cricket (Acheta Domesticus). The black soldier fly was found to be especially suited for rearing on pig manure while the cricket could be reared on organic waste. The infrastructure required to farm insects can be divided into five categories: The feeding plant, the reproduction facility, the nursery, the rearing facility, and the processing plant. Each of these facilities needs to be adapted to the characteristics of the chosen insect.

Full final report: Available on request