Larvae are fed on waste before they become fish feed

Brown black flour beetle, larvae, oatmeal.Brown black flour beetle, adults and larvae, in oatmeal. Photo: FHI - Reidar Mehl

Larvae are fattened on waste before they become fish feed

Norwegian Institute for bioeconomy (Nibio) wants to kill two birds with one stone when they allow larvae to eat waste before the larvae themselves are eaten by farmed fish.


In a box at Nibio in Ullensvang food waste is served to flour beetle larvae (mealworms), which then grows big and fat. After that the larvae themselves are put on the menu when they are used as feed for farmed fish, NRK reports

This is a win-win situation – where larvae can help to make food waste a valuable resource. We will have major problems dealing with waste in the future. On the other hand, it is challenging to produce enough fish feed, explains Gunnhild Jåstad in Nibio. The larva project is a collaboration between Nibio and the National Institute of Nutrition and Seafood Research (NIFES).

Replacement for Soya

Eventually we might develop larvae for food for chicken, sheep and cows. If larvae can replace imported soya from South America, which is currently used in many animal feed, agricultural areas can be freed to produce food for humans, Jåstad points out.

In the longer term, she foresees that the larvae can become a source of protein for humans as the world population increases.

At the time being, however, it’s just talk about larvae meant for fish, she assures.

Flour Beetle. Wikipedia

Flour beetles are members of the darkling beetle genera Tribolium or Tenebrio. They are pests of cereal silos and are widely used as laboratory animals, as they are easy to keep. The flour beetles consume wheat and other grains, are adapted to survive in very dry environments, and can withstand even higher amounts of radiation than cockroaches. They are a major pest in the agricultural industry and are highly resistant to insecticides.

The larvae of T. molitor, when full-grown, are known as mealworms; small specimens and the larvae of the other species are called mini mealworms.

© NTB Scanpix / Norway Today