May 4, 2018

Papers regarding use of BSF larvae in animal feed

Scientific papers regarding use of black soldier fly larvae in animal feed:

Insects are promising feedstuffs for animal feeds as they contain not only valuable nutrients but also particular compounds that seem to be able to modulate animal microbiota and to optimise animal health. So far, there has been little work on the effects of those insect derived compounds in animal feeding trails but initial investigations show promising results. This editorial discuss the effect of chitin, lauric acid, and anti-microbial peptides provided by insects.

Black soldier fly (Hermetia illucens) larvae (BSFL) are rich in protein and have the potential to be used in animal feed. The aim of the present study was to determine the immunoprophylactic effect of BSFL against Salmonella Gallinarum in broiler chicks as an alternative feed additive. Results showed that BSFL improved body weight gain and increased frequency of CD4+ T lymphocyte, serum lysozyme activity, and spleen lymphocyte proliferation. Moreover, BSFL reinforced bacterial clearance and increased survivability of broiler chicks against S. Gallinarum. These data suggested that BSFL has prophylactic properties with stimulating non-specific immune responses, as well as reduced bacterial burden against S. Gallinarum.

Insects could be potential nutritional sources both for humans and animals. Among these, Hermetia illucens, with good amount of chitin and proteins, represents a suitable diet replacement for laying hens. Little is known about insect diet effects on the microbial ecology of the gastrointestinal tract and bacterial metabolites production. In this study we investigated the effect of H. illucens larvae meal administration on cecal microbiota and short chain fatty acids (SCFAs) production in laying hens. 16S rDNA sequencing showed strong differences between cecal microbiota of soybean (SD) and insect diet (ID) groups both in type and relative abundance (unweighted and weighted beta diversity) of microbial species. In particular, Bacteroides plebeius, Elusimicrobium minutum, Alkaliphilus transvaalensis, Christensenella minuta, Vallitalea guaymasensis and Flavonifractor plautii represented the principal contributors of changes in gut microbiota composition of ID group (FDR p-values < 0.05). Of these, F. plautii, C. minuta and A. transvaalensis have the potential to degrade the chitin’s insect meal and
correlated with the observed high levels of gut SCFAs produced in ID group. These microorganisms may thus connect the chitin degradation with high SCFAs production. Our results suggest H. illucens as a potential prebiotic by well feeding gut microbiota.

The present research studied for the first time the potential application of the fat derived from the black soldier fly larvae fat (BSLF) in substitution to the soybean oil in the diet for broiler chickens: growth performances, feed-choice, blood traits, carcass characteristics and meat quality were considered in this study. A total of 150 male broiler chicks (Ross 308) at one-day of age were randomly allotted to 3 dietary treatments (5 replicates and 10 birds/pen): a basal control diet (C group), and the same diet in which the soybean oil was replaced by 50% (CH group) or 100% (H group) BSLF. Growth performances, feed-choice test, blood traits and slaughtering performances were not influenced by diets. Independently of BSLF inclusion, broiler chickens breast meat had also similar crude protein and ether extract contents and displayed similar thawing loss. Furthermore, pH, L, a, b colour values, and drip loss were unaffected by dietary treatments
both at 0 and 9 days of refrigerated storage. As expected, the fatty acid profile of broiler chickens breast was greatly affected by BSLF inclusion level. With increasing BSLF inclusion rate, the proportion of SFA increased (32.2, 37.8, 43.5% for C, CH and H breast meat, respectively, p<.001) to the detriment of the PUFA fraction (22.7, 23.0, 22.9% for C, CH and H breast meat, respectively, p<.001). On the contrary, MUFA fraction was unaffected. BSLF inclusion guaranteed satisfactory productive performances, carcass traits and overall meat quality, thus suggesting that BSLF could be a promising new feed ingredient for chickens.

The study aimed to determine the apparent total tract digestibility coefficients (ATTDC) of nutrients, the apparent metabolizable energy (AME and AMEn) and the amino acid (AA) apparent ileal digestibility coefficients (AIDC) of a partially defatted (BSFp) and a highly defatted (BSFh) black soldier fly larvae meal. The experimental diets were: a basal diet and two diets prepared by substituting 250 g/kg (w/w) of the basal diet with BSFp or BSFh, respectively. Significant differences were found between BSFp and BSFh meals for ATTDC of the nutrients: BSFp resulted more digestible than BSFh, except for ATTDC of CP which did not differed between meals, while a statistical trend was observed for ATTDC of DM and EE. The AME and AMEn values were significantly (P < 0.05) different between the two BSF meals, with higher levels for BSFp (16.25 and 14.87 MJ/kg DM, respectively). The AIDC of the AA in BSFp ranged from 0.44 to 0.92, while in BSFh they ranged from 0.45 to 0.99. No significant differences were observed for the AA digestibility (0.77 and 0.80 for BSFp and BSFh, respectively), except for glutamic acid, proline and serine that were more digestible in the BSFh meal (P < 0.05). Defatted BSF meals can be considered as an excellent source of AME and digestible AA for broilers with a better efficient nutrient digestion. These considerations suggested the effective utilization of defatted BSF larvae meal in poultry feed formulation.

PROteINSECT project’s key publication recommends review of insect protein legislation & funding to help address European protein deficit
– PROteINSECT fish feeding trials demonstrated insect meal can replace up to 50% of feed without affecting animal performance
– PROteINSECT pig feeding trials revealed improved gut health in piglets
– PROteINSECT poultry feeding trials showed that chickens fed on insectcontaining diets performed as well as those fed on commercial diets

Insect protein is becoming an increased area of interest because of the potential positive effects that it may have in animal feeds. Insect protein is believed to have beneficial nutritional components desirable for livestock while reducing the amount of environmental pollution due to their ability to be reared on bio-waste streams. Soya meal and fishmeal are the most commonly used protein sources in livestock diets.
However, due to competition with human consumption and bio-fuel utilisation of soya and decreasing fish stocks for the production of fishmeal (making both these raw materials unsustainable), alternative protein sources in the form of insects are being investigated.

The black soldier fly (BSF) (Hermetia illucens) is regarded as the insect with the highest potential for waste recycling. There is limited research of the use of black soldier fly larvae (BSFL) incorporated into layer hen diets. In this investigation, BSFL were processed with three different techniques: a full fat, dry rendered and an extruded meal. All three treatments were incorporated into three different layer diets at 15% inclusion levels. The diets were fed to layer hens for a period of 41 days and compared to a control maize soya diet.

Positive results as pertaining to production and egg quality parameters were found. The full fat and extruded meal had the highest egg lay percentage (amount of eggs laid throughout the duration of the trial per treatment) and differed (P≤0.05) from the control diet. No differences between treatments were found with regard to categorical data which included blood and meat spots, albumin spread and yolk colour and yolk membrane. With regard to egg quality parameters, a difference (P≤0.05) was found between the albumin weights. All three insect meals differed from the control diet with heavier albumin weights.

The results obtained in this study are in favour of the use of black solider fly larvae processed using any of the three techniques in poultry feeds.

A 59-days feeding trial was carried out to estimate the effects of fish meal replacement by defatted black soldier fly larvae meal (DBSFLM) on growth performance, antioxidate enzyme activities , digestive enzyme activities, hepatopancreas and intestinal morphology in Jian carp (Cyprinus carpio var. Jian) juveniles (initial mean body weight, 34.78 g). Five isolipidic (5.29±0.04%) and isoprotein (40.69±0.11%) diets were formulated by replacing 0%, 25%, 50%, 75%, 100% fish meal (FM) protein with graded DBSFLM levels of 0%, 2.6%, 5.3%, 7.9% and 10.6%. Each diet was randomly assigned to triplicate groups of 20 fish per aquarium. Fish were fed three times daily to apparent satiation. The results showed that the growth performance and nutrients utilization of fish in five groups were not different (P>0.05). The  epatopancreas lipid and serum cholesterol content of treated groups was significantly lower than that of the control group (P<0.05). With increasing dietary DBSFLM level, the activity of the CAT significantly increased. No significant  differences in the activity of intestinal protease, lipase and diastase were observed among dietary groups (P>0.05). The histological examination of intestine showed that when 75% or more FM protein was replaced, apparent pathological changes for example tissue disruption were observed in intestine, and relative gene expression of HSP70 in hepatopancreas significantly increased (P<0.05). The histological examination of hepatopancreas sections showed less vacuolated with lipid deposits in treatment groups compared with control group. These results suggested that the growth of Jian carp was not affected by dietary DBSFLM, while it boosted antioxidant status of Jian carp by higher CAT activity. However, dietary stress and intestinal histopathological damage was observed when the replacement levels exceeded 75%. The study demonstrates that it is suitable to replace up to 50% of dietary FM protein with DBSFLM.

Insects are considered as a sustainable protein source for future pet foods. Here we aimed to evaluate the protein quality of larvae of the black soldier fly (Hermetia illucens, BSF), housefly (Musca domestica, HF) and yellow mealworm (Tenebrio molitor, YMW) and to evaluate the fermentation characteristics of their indigestible fractions. Clean freeze-dried larvae were subjected to in vitro simulated canine gastric and small intestinal digestion. Undigested insect residues, shrimp chitin and fructooligosaccharides (positive control, FOS) were incubated for 48 h with inoculum with fresh feces from three dogs simulating large intestinal fermentation. The AA profiles differed among the larvae with proteins from BSF and YMW larvae containing more Val and less Met and Lys than HF larvae. The in vitro N digestibility of the HF (93.3%) and YMW (92.5%) was higher than BSF larvae (87.7%). The BSF larvae also had lower in vitro digestibility values for essential AA (92.4%) and non-essential AA (90.5%) compared to the larvae of the HF (96.6 and 96.5%) and YMW (96.9 and 95.3%). Gas production for FOS increased rapidly during the first 6 h. Low and similar amounts of gas were found for HF larvae and chitin whereas gas production slowly increased over 30 h and was slightly higher at 48 h for BSF than for chitin. Gas production for YMW increased considerably between 6 and 20 h. At 48 h, gas produced for undigested residues was comparable to shrimp chitin and lower than FOS (P < 0.001). Incubation with insect residues resulted in more N-acetylglucosamine than with shrimp chitin (P < 0.05), suggesting higher microbial degradation of insect chitin. Fecal microbiota from one dog appeared to be better able to ferment the undigested residue of YMW as gas production increased considerably between 6 and 20 h of incubation and was higher than for the microbiota from the other two dogs. The associated metabolite profile indicated that acetate, propionate and butyrate were the main fermentation products. Furthermore, formate was produced in relatively high amounts. It is concluded that the protein quality, based on the amino acid profile and digestibility, of selected insect larvae was high with the undigested insect fractions being at least partly fermented by the dog fecal microbiota. As the microbiota from one dog was better capable of fermenting the undigested residue of YMW larvae, it is of interest to further study the selective growth of intestinal microbiota in dogs fed insect-based food.

Artificial diets have been developed to sustain the mass rearing of a wide range of arthropod natural enemies, with varying success. In some cases, such diets can be optimized using insect‐derived materials, such as haemolymph. In this study, we examined the effect of supplementing haemolymph of the black soldier fly, Hermetia illucens, to a basic artificial diet for the phytoseiid mite Amblyseius swirskii. The survival, development and reproduction of the predatory mite were assessed when fed on artificial diets composed of honey, sucrose, tryptone, yeast extract and egg yolk, supplemented with 5%, 10%, or 20% of H. illucens pre‐pupal haemolymph. Developmental time from larva to adult was shorter for males and females offered artificial diets supplemented with 20% haemolymph vs. the basic diet. The oviposition rate and total fecundity of females reared on the basic diet were substantially lower than those of females supplied with the enriched diets. The intrinsic rate of increase was highest on the diet containing 20% haemolymph, followed by those containing 10% and 5% haemolymph. In a subsequent diet‐switching experiment, mites fed on the basic diet in their juvenile stages were switched upon adulthood to diet enriched with different concentrations of H. illucens haemolymph. The females that were fed with the enriched diets from the adult stage on had higher oviposition rates and fecundities than those maintained on the basic diet, but their reproductive parameters were not significantly affected by the concentration of the haemolymph in the artificial diet. In conclusion, supplementing artificial diets with black soldier fly haemolymph significantly improved their nutritional value for A. swirskii. Our findings indicate the potential of using H. illucensas a cheap source for haemolymph in artificial diets, as the fly can be cost‐effectively produced at a large scale on organic waste materials.

The prospects of use of the Hermetia illucens larvae for feeding young pigs have been discussed. At rearing on forage grains, the larvae contain in their body 38% of protein, 39% of fat, 5% of chitin. The Hermetia illucens larvae are featured with high nutritive value and comprise a rich amino acid content. Saturated acids, 49% of which is lauric acid, prevail in the composition. A physiological experiment has demonstrated the possibility of effective replacement of 5% fish meal with 7% dried Hermetia illucens larvae in animals’ ration. That resulted in pig’s average daily living weight growth of 6.7% as well as in decrease of mixed fodder consumption by 8% per 1 кg of weight gain. The possibility of use of insect micro dosage in mixed fodders for pigs, as a complex probiotic preparation component, has been also demonstrated. Adding the component in the amount of 0.5 kg/t of complex preparation enhanced the daily pigs’ weight growth by 14% at lowering the fodder consumption by 12%.

This study was conducted to evaluate the effect of black soldier fly larvae (BSFL) as a source of protein in layer diets on product performance, egg quality, hatchability, fertility, and sensory characteristics of eggs. The BSFL contained a high percentage of protein (559.9 g kg−1 ), metabolizable energy (696.3 kcal kg−1 ), crude fat (18.6 g kg−1), and dry matter (178 g kg−1) and a good balance of amino acids. A total of 54 Arabic strain hens at nine months of age were mixed with nine cocks at 12 months old; all were divided into three treatments. The diets were formulated based on three levels of energy-toprotein ratio: 155, 140, and 170. The BSFL meal was added at 0, 50, and 10 g kg−1 respectively. The results showed that feed intake, weight gain, Haugh unit, and hatchability were not affected by dietary treatments with BSFL. However, there was significant improvement in hen day egg production and hen house egg production due to dietary treatments of BSFL. Also, feed conversion ratio, egg weight, shell thickness, shell weight, egg yolk color, fertility, and egg mass were affected by dietary treatments. In addition, a significant improvement was observed in appearance, texture, taste, and acceptance of eggs of hens fed BSFL at 50 g kg−1. The odor was not affected by dietary treatments. Black soldier fly larvae can be a good source of protein in layer diets.

A study of the effect of a complex probiotic preparation with bacteria of the genus Bacillus and a microdose of larvae of the fly Hermetia illucens on the physiological parameters of fish has been carried out. It was established that introduction of the complex into artificial feeds for tilapia and Russian sturgeon juveniles during their incubation in recirculating aquaculture systems improves the digestion efficiency and increases the rate of fish growth and body mass accumulation. In tilapia, a decrease in the cholesterol level was revealed, while in sturgeon, an increase in the hemoglobin content was found. It was noted that a probiotic with biologically active agents H. illucens had a stimulating effect on the development of sexual gonads in female sturgeon fry, promoted an increase in the ovary mass, and provided for the development of eggs without morphological disturbances.

A 65 days feeding trial was conducted to evaluate the potential of black soldier fly larvae (BSFL) as a fish meal (FM) protein alternative in the diet of yellow catfish. Fish meal protein was replaced with BSFL meal protein at 0% (control), 13%, 25%, 37%, 48%, 68%, 85% and 100%. Compared with the control group, increased growth performances (e.g. weight gain rate increased by 21.7%) and immune indexes (e.g. serum lysozyme activity increased by 6.8%) of yellow catfish fed with diets in which a maximum of 48% FM protein was replaced by BSFL meal protein was determined. The diet in which 25% FM protein was replaced by BSFL meal protein resulted in the greatest growth performances (e.g. weight gain rate increased by 29.1%) and immune indexes (e.g. serum lysozyme activity increased by 31.9%) as well as the lowest feed conversion ratio (0.9) among all diets tested. No significant differences in survival rate, body indexes or composition were determined among all treatments. Therefore, BSFL meal protein has the potential to partially replace FM protein in the diet of yellow catfish, and it may also enhance the immunocompetence of the fish.

Soya bean is the main protein source in poultry feed but rising prices make an alternative protein source necessary. Insects, such as the black soldier fly (Hermetia illucens), may be an attractive solution for hens, although little information is available on their effect on egg quality. The present study aims to fill this gap by testing the effect of 100% replacement of soya bean with H. illucens larva meal in the diet of Lohmann Brown Classic laying hens for 21 weeks. At the end of the trial, the eggs were characterized for parameters such as weight, colour, proximate composition of albumen and yolk, and content of carotenoids, tocopherols and cholesterol. The fatty acid profile of yolks was also determined. Hens fed the insect-based diet produced eggs (HIM group) with a higher proportion of yolk than the group fed the soya bean-based diet (SBM group). HIM was associated with redder yolks (red index 5.63 v. 1.36) than SBM. HIM yolks were richer in γ-tocopherol (4.0 against 2.4 mg/kg), lutein (8.6 against 4.9 mg/kg), β-carotene (0.33 against 0.19 mg/kg) and total carotenoids (15 against 10.5 mg/kg) than SBM yolks. The fatty acid composition of HIM yolks was almost identical to that of SBM yolks. Finally, HIM yolks contained 11% less cholesterol than SBM yolks. These results suggest that H. illucens larva meal is a suitable total substitute for soya bean meal in the diet of Lohmann Brown Classic laying hens. A sustainable alternative to the plant protein source therefore seems feasible.

Insects could be potential nutritional sources both for humans and animals. Among these, Hermetia illucens, with good amount of chitin and proteins, represents a suitable diet replacement for laying hens. Little is known about insect diet efects on the microbial ecology of the gastrointestinal tract and bacterial metabolites production. In this study we investigated the efect of H. illucens larvae meal administration on cecal microbiota and short chain fatty acids (SCFAs) production in laying hens. 16S rDNA sequencing showed strong diferences between cecal microbiota of soybean (SD) and insect diet (ID) groups both in type and relative abundance (unweighted and weighted beta diversity) of microbial species. In particular, Bacteroides plebeius, Elusimicrobium minutum, Alkaliphilus transvaalensis, Christensenella minuta, Vallitalea guaymasensis and Flavonifractor plautii represented the principal contributors of changes in gut microbiota composition of ID group (FDR p-values<0.05). Of these, F. plautii, C. minuta and A. transvaalensis have the potential to degrade the chitin’s insect meal and
correlated with the observed high levels of gut SCFAs produced in ID group. These microorganisms may thus connect the chitin degradation with high SCFAs production. Our results suggest H. illucens as a potential prebiotic by well feeding gut microbiota.

Insects are considered as a sustainable protein source for future pet foods. Here we aimed to evaluate the protein quality of larvae of the black soldier fly (Hermetia illucens, BSF), housefly (Musca domestica, HF) and yellow mealworm (Tenebrio molitor, YMW) and to evaluate the fermentation characteristics of their indigestible fractions. Clean freeze-dried larvae were subjected to in vitro simulated canine gastric and small intestinal digestion. Undigested insect residues, shrimp chitin and fructooligosaccharides (positive control, FOS) were incubated for 48 h with inoculum with fresh feces from three dogs simulating large intestinal fermentation. The AA profiles differed among the larvae with proteins from BSF and YMW larvae containing more Val and less Met and Lys than HF larvae. The in vitro N digestibility of the HF (93.3%) and YMW (92.5%) was higher than BSF larvae (87.7%). The BSF larvae also had lower in vitro digestibility values for essential AA (92.4%) and non-essential AA (90.5%) compared to the larvae of the HF (96.6 and 96.5%) and YMW (96.9 and 95.3%). Gas production for FOS increased rapidly during the first 6 h. Low and similar amounts of gas were found for HF larvae and chitin whereas gas production slowly increased over 30 h and was slightly higher at 48 h for BSF than for chitin. Gas production for YMW increased considerably between 6 and 20 h. At 48 h, gas produced for undigested residues was comparable to shrimp chitin and lower than FOS (P < 0.001). Incubation with insect residues resulted in more N-acetylglucosamine than with shrimp chitin (P < 0.05), suggesting higher microbial degradation of insect chitin. Fecal microbiota from one dog appeared to be better able to ferment the undigested residue of YMW as gas production increased considerably between 6 and 20 h of incubation and was higher than for the microbiota from the other two dogs. The associated metabolite profile indicated that acetate, propionate and butyrate were the main fermentation products. Furthermore, formate was produced in relatively high amounts. It is concluded that the protein quality, based on the amino acid profile and digestibility, of selected insect larvae was high with the undigested insect fractions being at least partly fermented by the dog fecal microbiota. As the microbiota from one dog was better capable of fermenting the undigested residue of YMW larvae, it is of interest to further study the selective growth of intestinal microbiota in dogs fed insect-based food.

It has been noted that the introduction of small doses of dry prepupae of Hermetia illucens flies into the diet of the young Mozambique tilapia Oreochromis mossambicus (0.5 g/kg feed) had a positive effect on the growth and development of fish. It was found that the average daily gain in the experimental group was 0.7 g. It was established that the blood biochemical parameters were within the norm in the fish of all groups; however, in the experimental tilapia, the erythrocyte sedimentation rate was significantly lower and a tendency to increase in the amount of hemoglobin and glucose was noted. It was revealed that in the seminiferous tubules of fish in the experimental group, the number of mature sperm was 5.9 times higher compared with the control, indicating an increase in the rate of spermatogenesis. It is assumed that the observed effects are due to the high content of manganese in the prepupae present in a biologically active divalent form.

The use of DLBSF in feed increased ADG of experimental animals during the growing period by 8.3% (612.58±13.53 vs. 565.81±13.60 g, p<0.05) compared to the control group. The survival in the experimental group was 100%, in contrast to the control, where there was retirement of 1 head. It should also be noted that in general in the control group, in some cases, the use of an antibiotic was required for the period of the experiment. In the experimental group, no antibiotic injections were used. Biochemical blood test showed a higher concentration of total protein (61.14±1.40 & 57.57±1.17 vs. 56.99±0.53, g/L, p<0.05), decrease of bilirubin (8.65±0.80 & 9.57±1.33 vs. 13.98±1.12, µmol/L, p<0.05), higher number of leukocytes (12.72±0.53 &14.91±0.52 vs. 8.80±0.89, x 10^9/L, p<0.05) in the blood of the experimental animals compared to the control group. Feeding animals with DLBSF did not affect the number of lactobacilli in the large intestine, while the number of bifid bacteria significantly increased in the control group (3.0х10^14 & 1.4х10^12 vs. 1.0х10^11, CFU/g, p<0.05).

Edible insects are often considered a nutritious, protein-rich, environmentally sustainable alternative to traditional livestock with growing popularity among North American consumers. While the nutrient composition of several insects is characterized, all potential health impacts have not been evaluated. In addition to high protein levels, crickets contain chitin and other fbers that may infuence gut health. In this study, we evaluated the efects of consuming 25 grams/day whole cricket powder on gut microbiota composition, while assessing safety and tolerability. Twenty healthy adults participated in this sixweek, double-blind, crossover dietary intervention. Participants were randomized into two study arms and consumed either cricket-containing or control breakfast foods for 14 days, followed by a washout period and assignment to the opposite treatment. Blood and stool samples were collected at baseline and after each treatment period to assess liver function and microbiota changes. Results demonstrate cricket consumption is tolerable and non-toxic at the studied dose. Cricket powder supported growth of the probiotic bacterium, Bifidobacterium animalis, which increased 5.7-fold. Cricket consumption was also associated with reduced plasma TNF-α. These data suggest that eating crickets may improve gut health and reduce systemic infammation; however, more research is needed to understand these efects and underlying mechanisms.

  • Silvia Nogales-Merida, Paola Gobbi, Damian Jozefiak, Jan Mazurkiewicz, Krzysztof Dudek, Mateusz Rawski, Bartosz Kieronczyk and Agata Jozefiak article Insect meals in fish nutrition

Different studies have shown that insect meals can partially or completely replace the fish and soya bean meals that are commonly used in aquaculture. However, information is lacking on the amino acid and fatty acid contents and digestibility of different insect meals. Moreover, we evaluated different proportions of insect diets and determined how these affected the nutritional values of insect meals. Our purpose was to clarify these aspects and consider the availability of protein, amino acids, lipids and fatty acids in insect meals in fish nutrition. Generally,
insect meals have higher indispensable amino acid contents than other meal types, with contents closely related to those in fish meal. Insect meal can be an important source of essential amino acids such as methionine, with contents ranging between 0.47 and 4.03 g 100 g^(-1) sample. These values are higher than those reported for other animal and plant meals. In addition, insects are also good sources of lipids and fatty acids, and the amounts and types of fatty acids vary according to the species, stage of development and type of feed. Moreover, the additional nutritional value of insect meal includes compounds such as chitin, which is primarily considered a fibre but also contains nitrogen and amino acids. Insect peptides with activity against pathogenic microflora provide secondary biological effects, which may significantly improve animal health.

Two age-dependent nitrogen (N) balance studies (average body mass 25 and 60 kg) utilized 16 male castrated piglets and 16 barrows to measure N utilization parameters of diets with complete substitution of SBM by alternative protein sources (SM, HM), but different AA fortifications. Lysine supplementation up to 80% of the recommended lysine (Lys) supply in diets HM (A) and SM (A) yielded similar protein quality data (63.6 ± 2.1 and 63.7 ± 3.4). Surprisingly, only in piglet diet HM (AA) did the extended AA supplementation (Lys, methionine (Met), threonine (Thr)) enhance protein quality (72.8 ± 6.7) significantly (p = 0.004). Similar trends were observed in growing pigs. However, when the level of histidine (His) in diet SM (AA) was increased, feed protein quality (71.8 ± 1.3) was significantly (p < 0.001) improved indicating the importance of adequate His supply in diets with a complete substitution of SBM by the algae meal (SM) under study. AA efficiency data extend the possibilities to explain the observed responses on protein quality. When an adequate AA balancing in the diet is guaranteed, from nutritional point of view both of the alternative proteins may replace SBM in pig diets.