Sustainability (2017-09-01)

Life Cycle Inventory Analysis of Prospective Insect Based Feed Production in West Africa

  • Martin Roffeis,
  • Joana Almeida,
  • Maureen Elizabeth Wakefield,
  • Tatiana Raquel Alves Valada,
  • Emilie Devic,
  • N’Golopé Koné,
  • Marc Kenis,
  • Saidou Nacambo,
  • Elaine Charlotte Fitches,
  • Gabriel K. D. Koko,
  • Erik Mathijs,
  • Wouter M. J. Achten,
  • Bart Muys

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 9, no. 10
p. 1697


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While the concept of insect based feeds (IBFs) promises great potential, especially in developing countries, the sustainability performance of IBF production remains widely underexplored. Drawing on experimental data from rearing trials in West Africa, three different insect production systems were modelled ex-ante. The generic models served as a basis to analyse and compare the process performances of different IBF production systems using Musca domestica and Hermetia illucens reared on different substrates. The results show that the input efficiency in the production of IBF is largely determined by the quality of rearing substrates, the larval development time and the employed inoculation practises, i.e., the method by which eggs or larvae are added to rearing substrates. The H. illucens system ranked highest for conversion efficiency (substrate input per IBF output), but showed substantially higher inputs in labour, fossil energy and output of wastewater. M. domestica systems operated at lower conversion efficiencies, which resulted in higher outputs of residue substrates, together with higher emissions, land requirements, built infrastructure and water. By offering full disclosure of generic inventory data, this study provides data and inspiration for prospect research and development activities and offers a reference to future life cycle assessments (LCAs) on IBF.