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Effect of cassava leaves (Manihot esculenta Crantz), water spinach (Ipomoea aquatica) and Coccinia grandis L. on biomass growth of crickets (Gryllus bimaculatus) fed chicken feed as the basal diet

Bui Phan Thu Hang, Nguyen Van Cop and Vo Lam

Department of Animal Sciences and Veterinary Medicine, An Giang University Vietnam National University Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
bpthang.agu@gmail.com

Abstract

Seven thousand and two hundred crickets (Gryllus bimaculatus) with a mean initial weight of 11.30.66 mg/cricket and an age of 7 days were housed in ages (300 per cage) and offered a basal diet of chicken feed alone, or supplemented with leaves of sweet cassava (Manihot esculenta Crantz), water spinach (Ipomoea aquatica) or Coccinia grandis L. The design was a randomized block with 4 treatments (sources of leaves) and 6 replications (300 crickets per treatment/replicate).

Over a period of 28 days, the total biomass yield of crickets was increased by 14% when they had free access to fresh cassava leaves as well as commercial chicken feed. When leaves from water spinach and Coccinia grandis were offered as supplements they were consumed in smaller quantities, as compared with cassava leaves, and there were no benefits in biomass growth of the crickets compared with access to chicken feed alone.

Key words: cassava leaves, feed conversion, fresh foliage, weight


Introduction

In developing countries, children often suffer from protein-energy malnutrition (UNICEF 2012). Malnutrition and undernutrition in Vietnamese children have been identified as a problem. Chaparro et al (2014) reported that in Vietnam the proportion of children under two years old, whose diet meets the minimum standards for dietary diversity, is around 72%.

Crickets (Gryllus bimaculatus) are interesting as food because they are rich in protein (58-78%) and trace minerals (FAO 2013; Adul Razak et al 2012; Finke et al 2002; Barker et al 1998; Nakagaki et al 1987). Crickets common edible insects in Asia and a good source of income (Viwatpanich and Yhoung-aree 2005). Crickets have a much shorter life cycle compared with traditional livestock (pigs and cattle) (Gahukar 2011) and low emissions of greenhouse gases and ammonia (Poma et al 2017).

Capturing wild crickets could be a potential threat to their survival. Therefore, rearing crickets is an obvious way to ensure satisfying market demand year round. Crickets can eat a wide range of food sources such as weeds and agricultural and food industry by-products (Miech et al 2016). However, little information is available to date about cricket farming in Vietnam.

The aim of this research was to evaluate fresh biomass yield and growth of crickets (Gryllus bimaculatus) fed cassava leaves, water spinach and Coccinia grandis L as supplements to chicken feed. The hypothesis was that cassava leaves have potential to be used as cricket feed.


Materials and methods

Location and source of crickets

The study was conducted on a private farm located in Long Xuyen city, An Giang province, Vietnam. The crickets (n =7200; age 7 days) were sourced from a rearing unit in An Giang University.

Experimental design

The crickets were fed a basal diet normally given to growing chickens and three experimental diets in which the basal diet was supplemented with free access to leaves from sweet cassava, water spinach or Coccinia grandis L. The allocation to treatments was according to a Completely Randomized Design with 6 replications (each treatment/replicate had 300 crickets). The experiment lasted for 28 days.

Feeds, animals and management

Chicken feed was bought from the local market. According to the manufacturer, it contained 21.5% crude protein (CP), 7% crude fiber (CF) and 87% dry matter (DM). Chicken feed was offered ad libitum on plastic plates. Cassava leaves, water spinach and Coccinia grandis L. were harvested in the fields around Long Xuyen city and also offered ad libitum, but laid in the bottom of cages. The crickets were offered feed in the morning.

Seven thousand, two hundred crickets (Gryllus bimaculatus) at 7 days old were sourced from a rearing unit in An Giang University. They were housed in groups of 300 in plastic mesh cages (50x30x20 cm) in which conventional cardboard egg holders (width 30cm, length 50 cm, height 10 cm) were placed to provide hiding and moulting places for the crickets. The crickets in each cage were weighed together at the start of the experiment and then after 14 and 28 days, before feeding in the morning, using an electronic scale. The amounts of feed offered and refused were recorded. Feed conversion ratio (FCR) was calculated by dividing the total feed DM consumption by the total weight gain.

Photo 1. Coccinia grandis L. Photo 2. The cages housing the crickets
Chemical analysis

Samples of feeds offered and refused were analysed for DM, CP and ash according to AOAC (1990).

Statistical analysis

The data from the experiment were subjected to analysis of variance using the General Linear Model (GLM) procedure of Minitab Software Release version 17 (2013). Sources of variation were treatments and error.


Results and Discussion

All the leaves were richer in crude protein and crude fiber than the chicken feed (Table 1).

Table 1. Mean values for chemical composition of the feeds, %

Item

DM,
%

% of DM

CP

CF

EE

OM

Chicken feed

87.7

22.2

2.48

3.87

92.9

Coccinia grandis L.

12.4

26.2

12.5

5.19

78.0

Cassava

27.2

31.4

12.8

7.02

94.6

Water spinach

15.4

27.0

8.59

3.69

88.5

The intake of leaves was higher when these were sourced from cassava compared with water spinach or Coccinia (Table 2). Supplementation with all sources of leaves led to increases in the daily intake of crude protein and crude fiber.

Table 2. Feed intake during the experiment

Treatment

DM intake, mg/cricket/d

Intake, mg/cricket/d

Chicken
feed

Leaves

Total

CP

CF

EE

OM

Chicken feed

46.5ab

0c

46.5b

10.8b

1.12c

2.03c

96.3a

Cassava leaves

42.2b

7.24a

49.5ab

12.2a

1.78a

2.51a

96.3a

Coccinia grandis L.

48.0a

4.44b

52.4a

12.3a

1.65a

2.35ab

95.2c

Water spinach

47.7a

4.01b

51.7ab

12.2a

1.47b

2.26b

95.7b

SEM

1.33

0.131

1.37

0.296

0.041

0.051

0.097

p

0.022

<0.01

0.026

<0.01

<0.01

<0.01

<0.01

abc Means within columns with different superscripts are different at P<0.05



Table 3. Mean values for increase in total biomass, daily weight gain and feed conversion of crickets fed chicken feed alone or supplemented with fresh leaves of cassava, water spinach or Coccinia for 28 days

Treatment

Gain in
biomass, g

Initial weight,
mg/cricket

Final weight,
mg/cricket

ADG, mg/
cricket/d

FCR

Chicken feed

228b

11.5

1015

35.0b

1.33ab

Cassava leaves

262a

11.4

1063

39.0a

1.27b

Coccinia grandis L.

237b

11.1

1071

37.9ab

1.39ab

Water spinach

221b

11.3

1059

36.5ab

1.42a

SEM

5.61

0.29

28.4

0.91

0.08

p

<0.01

0.85

0.51

0.031

0.049

ab Means within columns with different superscripts are different at p<0.05

The total biomass of the crickets was increased by 14% when they had access to fresh cassava leaves as well as commercial chicken feed (Table 3). There were no benefits in biomass growth when the chicken feed was supplemented with leaves from water spinach or Coccinia grandis.

Figure 1. Effect on growth rate of crickets having access to fresh leaves as well as chicken feed


Conclusions


Acknowledgements

The authors are grateful for the financial for this research from An Giang University, Vietnam National University-Ho Chi Minh. The authors would also like to thank the Department of Animal Husbandry and Veterinary, Faculty of Agriculture and Natural Resources of An Giang University for infrastructure support.


References

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Received 16 December 2019; Accepted 3 January 2020; Published 1 February 2020

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