Towards a sustainable solution for aquafeed: using live yellow mealworm larvae grown on pre-consumer wastes for tilapia culture in Malawi
About the project
UK-registered Partner: University of Stirling – Amina Moss
Africa-registered Partner: Mzuzu University – Dr Kumbukani Mzengereza
The aquaculture industry faces challenges in sustainability and cost-effectiveness due to the high cost of feed, which is primarily made up of wild-caught fish. To address these challenges, a pilot study was conducted in Malawi to investigate the use of yellow mealworm (Tenebrio molitor) grown on pre-consumer organic waste as a protein source for two species of tilapia (Coptodon rendalli and Oreochromis shiranus).
Previous research into alternative protein sources for fish feed has focused on plants, but they have limitations as incomplete protein sources. In contrast, insects are a promising alternative, as they provide adequate protein content and are considered affordable. In addition, using pre-consumer organic waste such as carrot trimmings to grow insects for feed is a sustainable approach that could reduce food waste and contribute to a more circular economy.
Within 3 weeks of trial, the tilapia fed on insect larvae had comparable growth rates to those fed on traditional fish meal, demonstrating the potential for yellow mealworm in tilapia aquaculture feeds in Malawi.
Learn more about the project in this recording from our recent GCRF AgriFood Africa Project Showcase event.