This is a sub-project of a WUR-NIOO project entitled "Closing the loop: exploiting sustainable insect production to improve soil, crop and animal health", coordinated by Prof. Marcel Dicke. Insects can transform waste streams into high-value proteins for food and feed. Consequently, insects provide valuable contributions to a circular economy. The project aims to investigate the valorisation of the rest-stream of insect production, i.e. moulting skins and faeces (‘frass’) to enhance soil health and crop health (https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tplants.2022.01.007).
In the NIOO project, we study the decomposition rate of frass and moulting skins of three insects species (black soldier fly, mealworm, cricket) in arable soil as well as the composition of the fungal and bacterial decomposers. In addition, we study if the insect materials, which are rich in chitin, can be used to control soil-borne fungal plant diseases.