New publication: Life cycle assessment of cricket farming in north-eastern Thailand
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Authors: A. Halloran (1), Y. Hanboonsong (2), N. Roos (1) & S. Bruun (3).
(1) Department of Nutrition, Exercise and Sports, University of Copenhagen.
(2) Department of Entomology, Khan Kaen Uniersity.
(3) Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences, University of Copenhagen.
Over the last few years, edible insect species have been heralded as an environmentally sustainable solution to current and future food crises. However, the few existing studies that aim to evaluate the environmental performance of insect farming systems are extremely limited in scope. This paper presents the first case of a life cycle assessment (LCA) performed on an existing production system of Gryllus bimaculatus De Geer (field cricket) and Acheta domesticus (house cricket) production in north-eastern Thailand and compares it with broiler production in the same region. The system boundaries of the production system considered the entire production cycle of edible crickets as well as processing. The study included two functional units (1 kg of edible mass and 1 kg of protein in edible mass). Irrespective of the functional unit, larger impacts were associated with broiler production. Major hotspots for cricket and broiler production were related to the production soybean meal and maize grain for feed. A scaledup cricket farming system which was considered as a possible 'future' scenario demonstrated a reduction in overall environmental impacts when compared to current cricket production and industrial broiler production. While scaled-up cricket farming showed fewer overall environmental impacts, intensified systems could potentially have reduced socioeconomic impacts on rural areas in Thailand. Improvement options could be adopted by undertaking further research into the formulation of local feeds and acquiring improved knowledge about cricket nutrition.