Insect Diets: Science and Technology, Second Edition, 2nd Edition (Hardback) book cover

Insect Diets

Science and Technology, Second Edition, 2nd Edition

By Allen Carson Cohen

CRC Press

473 pages | 164 B/W Illus.

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Dr. Allen Carson Cohen’s new edition of Insect Diets: Science and Technology continues to provide a current, integrated review of the field of insect diets. It reaffirms and expands upon the belief that the science of diet development and the technology of diet application in rearing programs require formal foundations and guidelines. Cohen argues for a data-driven approach as well as a focus on humane treatment in insect rearing programs. He also calls for academics and industries to make a new push toward statistical process control (SPC) in their approaches to rearing in general, using his own work with insects as a paradigm. This approach yields the benefits of careful scientific analysis by addressing issues of quality and efficiency in academic research and industrial practices and applications.

See What’s New in the Second Edition:

This edition expands upon the role of food science in the use of artificial diets in rearing programs, especially texture analysis with rheological techniques. It includes an entirely new chapter focused solely on the subject of food quality in insect diets. The book also revisits microbial relationships to insect diets as a powerful influence on their feeding processes and emphasizes a new, better understanding and utilization of the relationship between insects and microbes in artificial diets.

Cohen also expands his vision of the future of insect rearing, including the use of insects themselves as a potential food source for a rapidly expanding global human population. To that end, this book gives you guidelines to develop, use, and evaluate artificial diets in order to improve their cost and scientific efficiency in the rearing of insects, because as the author urges, it is important to "know your insect." This understanding will serve the multifaceted goals of using insect rearing for research and teaching, pest management strategies and biocontrol agents, as food for other organisms, and for many other purposes.

Table of Contents

Preface to the Second Edition

Acknowledgments to the Second Edition

Preface to the First Edition

Acknowledgments to the First Edition


Scope of Insect Diet Science and Technology


Food Science and Food Technology and Insect Diet Programs

Subdisciplines of Food Science and Technology

Diet in the Context of a Rearing Facility

Insect Diets and Rearing: Why Science and Technology Rather Than Art?

Selected Books and Journals on Food Science and Food Technology

Diet Terminology and History of Insect Diet Science

Introduction to Diet Terminology

Historical Aspects of Insect Diet Science and Technology

Other Historical Diets and Historically Significant Concepts

Function of Insect Diet Components

Introduction to Functional Aspects of Diet Components

Essential versus Nonessential Nutrients

Purposes of Individual Diet Ingredients and Nutrient Functions


Feeding Stimulants

Protective Ingredients

Nutritionally Inert Ingredients Provide Texture

Importance of pH and Its Influence on Diets

Water Content (Percentage) and Water Activity

Nutritional Profile of Five Diet Prominent Components

Overview of Diet Additives


Gelling Agents and Stabilizers


Antimicrobial Agents

Flavoring Agents

Colorizing Additives

Bulking and Texturizing Agents

Chelating Agents

What Makes a Diet Successful or Unsuccessful?


Terminology Regarding Success and Failure of Diets

Minimal Nutrients (The Simple Nutrient Model)

Minimal Nutrient Concept

Rules of Nutrient Sameness, Nutrient Proportions, and Cooperating Supplements

Examples of Excellent Diets and Why They Are Successful

How Organizational Matrices Contribute to Successful Diets

Vitamin and Mineral Sources in Successful Diets

Issue of Bioavailability

Chemistry and Physics of Insect Diets

Introduction to Diet Chemistry and Physics

Bioenergetics and the Nature of Energy in Insect Diets

Nature of Water and What It Means to Insect Diets

Nature of pH and How It Affects Diet

Oxygen and Reactive Oxidative Species (ROS) Present in Diets

Factors That Affect Diet Texture

Processing History of Diets: Physical Qualities of Diets?

Chemistry of Proteins and Amino Acids in Diets

Chemistry of Carbohydrates in Diets

Chemistry of Nucleic Acids in Diets

Chemistry of Vitamins in Diets

Dealing with Changes


Confusion over Product Name Differences

Unavoidable Changes in Diets and Other Components

Changes in Production Procedures

What to Do If You Must Make Changes

Making Changes: Developing Strategic Planning Systems

Testing Changes: The Hallmark of Stable Rearing Programs

Using the Ingredient Cycle Concept


Insect Feeding Biology (Digestive System Anatomy and Ultrastructure, Physiology and Biochemistry of Digestion, Feeding Behavior, and Sensory Systems) and the Logic of Metabolic Systems

Introduction and Overview of Insect Feeding Systems

Insect Feeding Habits

Preingestion and Postingestion Processing

Liquids and Solids and Slurries, Oh My!

Insect Gut: A Study in Complexity

Mean Retention Times and Diet Composition

Regulation of Digestive Function

Structure and Organization of Insects’ Digestive Systems

Macromolecular Complexes—Macromolecules—Large Subunits—Simple Molecular Subunits

Metabolic Logic: What Happens to Food Components after Insects Consume Them?

Feeding Specialization and Gross Anatomy of Insect Digestive Systems

Insectary and Rearing System as a Context for Diets: Order and Complexity in Nature and in Diet-Based Rearing System

Order and Unpredictability: An Overview

Orderliness of Systems in Nature

Factors That Influence Diet Complexity

Paradox of Nutrients and Antinutrients

Unexpected Changes after Management Decisions

Conscious Decisions and Hidden Factors

Changes in the Order or Nature of Processing Steps

Importance of Iron in Insect Diets

Back to the Context of the Insectary and Rearing System

Nutritional Ecology and Its Links with Artificial Diets

Introduction to Nutritional Ecology and Artificial Diets

Nutrients and Antinutrients in the Foods of Insects

Plant Secondary Compounds, Feeding, and Artificial Diets

Efficiency Indices

Sifting through the Functional Role of Components

Artificial Diets as Delivery Systems for Testing Antinutrients and Toxins

Special Examples of Nutritional Ecology Applications

How Artificial Diets Are Developed and Improved

Difficulties in Diet Development Methodologies

Starting Out: The First Steps in Diet Development?

Using Diets Developed for Insects with Similar Feeding Habits, Including Derivative Diets with and without Host Extracts

Use of Food Analysis as a Basis for Diet Development

Use of Whole Carcass Analysis in Diet Development (an Alternative Analytical Approach)

Radioisotopes and Diet Deletion Techniques

Use of Digestive Enzymes as Aids in Diet Development

Nutrient Self-Selection, Geometric Analysis, and Statistical Optimization Approaches

Heuristic Approach

Eclectic Approach: Constructing a Diet Development Algorithm

Development of Minimal Daily Requirements

Fundamentals of Process Control, Quality Control, and Problem Solving

Introduction to Process Control, Quality Control, and Insectary Problem Solving

Relationships between Process Control and Quality Control: Historical Perspectives and an Overview

Variability and Error: Causes and Treatments

Example of Gaining Control over Variables in Wheat Germ

Four Diet/Process Control Criteria

Linking Process Control in Diets to Quality of Insects Produced

Attributing Quality Loss in Insects Reared on Artificial Diets

Measurement of Whole Diet and Component Quality

Development of Problem Solving Strategies, Quality Assessment, Quality Control Standards, and SOPs

Logistical and Statistical Background: Using Process Control Statistics and Charts in the QC Environment

Some Concluding Comments: Tipping Points, Incremental versus Saltatory Factors, and Pareto Thinking—A Case Study from a Cactus Moth Diet Development Project

Equipment Used for Processing Insect Diets: Small-, Medium-, and Large-Scale Applications


Applications of the Geometry of Scale: Heat Exchange in Diet Processing

General Small-Scale Processing

Medium- to Large-Scale Diet Processing

Water Purification and Water Quality

Storage of Ingredients and Completed Diets

Standards of Acceptable Quality

Ultralow Temperature Storage

Size Reduction of Ingredients

Size Reduction of Meat Products and Eggs

Size Reduction in Plant Materials


Heat Processing

Packaging and Containerization

Future Prospects

Microbes in the Diet Setting

Overview of Microbe/Insect Interactions in the Rearing Setting

Symbiosis, Mutualism, and Commensalism: Microbes That Have Beneficial or Neutral Relations with Insects

Contamination: Microbiology of Foods and Insect Diets

Using a Mixture of Two or More Kinds of Preventative Actions to Reduce Microbial Contamination

Common Contaminants in Insects, Insect Diets, and Rearing Settings

Other Techniques Used to Remove, Reduce, or Ameliorate Microbial Contaminants

Cold Techniques

Chemotherapy and Chemical-Based Prophylaxis

Physical/Radiation Techniques

Decontamination Procedures Can Deteriorate Diet Quality

Finding a Safe Middle Ground: Optimizing and Balancing Microbial Contaminant Treatments with Insect Well-Being

Future Prospects in the Microbiology of Insect Diets: Probiotics, Prebiotics, and Novel Antimicrobials

Studies of Biofilms

Integration of Food Industry Sanitation with Insect Diet Production

Safety and Good Insectary Practices

Introduction: Safety and Good Insectary Practices Are Completely Congruent

Chemical Hazards

Proper Storage and Disposal of Potentially Hazardous Chemicals

Microbial Hazards and Other Biological Hazards

Special Issue of Smoking in Conjunction with Rearing

Mechanical and Thermal Hazards

Electrical Hazards

In General

Introduction to Texture, Consistency, and Rheology in Insect Diets

Chris Daubert, Chris Pernell, and Allen C. Cohen


Relationship between Consistency (Texture) and Rheology

Some Food Science Background

Applications of Rheology to Insect Diets

Future Prospects for Insect Diets: Introduction

Application of Food Science and Food Technology Principles

Progress in Equipment Applications

Food Matrix Analysis

Development of Symptomology of Nutritional Deficiencies

Development of Highly Refined Bioassays

Development of Process Control Systems

Application of Fermentation and GMO Technology

Advanced Technologies for Detecting and Handling Microbial Contaminants

Advancements in Techniques to Characterize the Species and Nature of Symbionts

Application of Advanced Nano-Analysis Techniques for Nutrient Evaluations on an Ultrasmall Scale

Application of Research Techniques with Advanced Microscopy Tools

Improved Diet Components by Application of Engineered Foods through Refinement of Processing Technology

Expanding the Scope of Insect Rearing: New Uses for Mass-Reared Insects (Including Production of Insects as Human Food)

Applications of Rheological Principles of Texture Analysis for Texture Improvement and Process Control

Twenty-First-Century Insect Diet Professional: Suggestions for a New Curriculum and Educational Profile

Publishing on Insect Diets in the Twenty-First Century

Twenty-First-Century Insect Diet and Rearing Professional: At Formal Professional Standing

Introduction to Analytical Procedures for Statistical Process Control of Diets

Developing Statistical Process Control Procedures

Sanitation and Contamination: Determining the Cleanliness of Facilities in the Context of SPC

Diet Processes That Affect Quality of Diet-Based Rearing Outcomes

Other Processes Related to Diets or Insectary-Based Diet Context

Context of the Insectary: Organization of Insectary Rooms, Climate, and Personnel

Insects in Relation to Diets



A: Glossary of Diet and Diet-Related Terms

B: Historical Landmarks in Insect Diets and Events That Set the Stage for Diet Advancements, History of Artificial Diets for Insects, and Events of Significance to Diet-Related Insect Rearing

C: Vitamin and Mineral Mixtures Commonly Used in Insect Diets

D: Process Control of Environmental Parameters

E: Explanations of Accuracy and Precision in Measuring Diet Components

F: Bioassays in Diet Development, Quality Control, and Testing Effects of Additives

About the Author

Allen Carson Cohen completed his high school education in Chicago, Illinois and went to university in California for a BA and MA in English and a teaching credential. He later returned to college for an MA in biology, specializing in the physiological ecology of rattlesnakes. He completed his PhD in entomology at the University of California, Riverside (1978). He has served for seven years as editor for insect diets, insect rearing, and insect feeding biology for the Journal of Insect Science and serves as a mentor for students, researchers, and professionals in diet and rearing science and technology. He holds six U.S. patents, has published more than 125 refereed papers, and has received several technology transfer awards for his work on insect diets. He is currently research professor and coordinator of the Insect Rearing Education and Research Program at North Carolina State University, where he teaches online and in-person courses on insect rearing and conducts research on developing and improving insect rearing systems.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
NATURE / Animals / General
SCIENCE / Life Sciences / Zoology / Entomology
SCIENCE / Life Sciences / Biology / Microbiology