Insects are considered a suitable alternative feed for livestock production and their use is nowadays regulated in the European Union by the European Commission Regulation No. 893/2017. Insects have the ability to grow on a different spectrum of substrates, which could be naturally contaminated by mycotoxins. In the present work, the mycotoxin uptake and/or excretion in two different insect species, Alphitobius diaperinus (Lesser Mealworm, LM) and Hermetia illucens (Black Soldier Fly, BSF), grown on naturally contaminated substrates, was evaluated. Among all the substrates of growth tested, the Fusarium toxins deoxynivalenol (DON), fumonisin 1 and 2 (FB1 and FB2) and zearalenone (ZEN) were found in those based on wheat and/or corn. No mycotoxins were detected in BSF larvae, while quantifiable amount of DON and FB1 were found in LM larvae, although in lower concentration than those detected in the growing substrates and in the residual fractions. Mass balance calculations indicated that BSF and LM metabolized mycotoxins in forms not yet known, accumulating them in their body or excreting in the faeces. Further studies are required in this direction due to the future employment of insects as feedstuff.
- Edible insects
- Feed safety