Researchers from the Departments of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Biological Agricultural Engineering and the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine have found a means to provide an important nutrient that can be used as an organic dietary supplement for poultry.
“Poultry feed is the most expensive component of poultry production and to that feed growers will add methionine. Methionine is a critical amino acid for growth of broilers as well as growth of layers and can significantly impact egg production,” said Jean VanderGheynst, Professor in the Department Biological and Agricultural Engineering at UC Davis. “The challenge is that the industry adds methionine in a synthetic form and so that puts some restrictions on whether the products can be considered organic.”
VanderGheynst noted that insects, particularly black soldier fly larvae, are proving to be an excellent organic source of methionine. The cultivation of the larvae takes place within carefully designed plastic bags containing hoses for air intake and outflow, fertilizer and a food source. “Basic research in my lab at UC Davis shows that larvae grow quite well on almond hulls, and these hulls consist of a mixture of hulls and shells,” VanderGheynst said.