The growing human population means that the demand for (animal) protein is expected to increase in the near future

“… feeding a world population of 9.1 billion people in 2050 would require raising overall food production by some 70 percent between 2005 and 2050” (FAO, 2009. High-level Expert Forum: Global agriculture towards 2050)

Current Feed production for livestock competes with food production for humans or relies on resources that threaten biodiversity.
Alternative sources of protein for animal feed Are needed.
insects have been put forward as a sustainable source of protein that can be used to feed livestock.

Insects can be used to convert waste streams into valuable protein for animal feed that may replace conventional soy and fishmeal that is currently used. The use of insects in feed can contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals formulated by the UN, such as achieving food security, improving health and well-being, sustainable production patterns and management of resources and climate action.

The Insectfeed program aims to

(1) investigate insect production, especially focussing on insect health, insect welfare and the intrinsic value of insects.

(2) investigate insect-fed poultry health and welfare

(3) conduct an economic analysis of the value chain development.

The output of the programme will consist of

  • scientific publications
  • publications in journals for professionals
  • advisory reports for different societal stakeholders, including politicians, regulators, investment organisations, retail and educational institutes
  • outreach to the general public


Publications as a result of this research programme (latest first).

Article by Martijn van Loon and Bernice Bovenkerk in the conference proceedings of Justice and food security in a changing climate, awarded with Vonne Lund Prize for junior researchers
This systematic review aims to provide a comprehensive overview of the published evidence on effects of mycotoxin exposure on insect growth and survival, mycotoxin accumulation within the insect body, and metabolization of various mycotoxins by insects. K. Niermans, A.M. Meyer, […]
M. Dicke, J. Eilenberg, J. Falcao Salles, A.B. Jensen, A. Lecocq, G.P. Pijlman, J.J.A. van Loon and M.M. van Oers 2020, Journal of Insects as Food and Feed

List of publications (old to new):

Dicke, M., J. Eilenberg, J. F. Salles, A. B. Jensen, A. Lecocq, G. P. Pijlman, J. J. A. van Loon and M. M. van Oers (2020). “Edible insects unlikely to contribute to transmission of coronavirus SARS-CoV-2.” Journal of Insects as Food and Feed 6(4): 333-339.

Dörper, A., T. Veldkamp and M. Dicke (2021). “Use of black soldier fly and house fly in feed to promote sustainable poultry production.” Journal of Insects as Food and Feed 7(5): 761-780.

Niermans, K., A. M. Meyer, E. F. H.-v. den Hil, J. J. A. van Loon and H. J. van der Fels-Klerx (2021). “A systematic literature review on the effects of mycotoxin exposure on insects and on mycotoxin accumulation and biotransformation.” Mycotoxin Research.

Loon, M. S. v. and B. Bovenkerk 32. The ethics and mindedness of insects.  Justice and food security in a changing climate218-223.

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