The second edition of Insect Diets is a must-read book for anyone interested in rearing insects, including backyard hobbyists, university researchers, and mass-rearing specialists in large insect-production facilities. Author Allen Cohen emphasizes the importance of producing and providing a balanced, nutritious diet for insects through food science technology, data analysis, and evaluation by way of current best practices. His case studies and real-life rearing experiences provide excellent examples of often incremental but relevant improvements on insect diet development across a wide spectrum of species. The examples incorporate insight from insect rearing specialists including Singh and Moore (1985) and stress the importance of quality control in insect production, as emphasized by Leppla and Fisher (1989). Cohen acknowledges process control (Lorraine and Bruzzone 1992) as a useful way of combining analytical and statistical procedures to study the physical and chemical properties of dietary ingredients. Process control ensures a consistent product by defining and tracking acceptable variation in each stage of manufacturing, and is an important tool and useful resource for insect production managers.
Different species of insects often require specialized micronutrients in their diets, just as humans do. Humans have the advantage of taking supplements or multivitamins to meet their daily requirements. Artificial insect diets, however, must contain the nutritional blend required for each species to thrive. The key to successful rearing is knowing the insect species that you are rearing, which often involves analyzing the effect of insect feeding processes, investigating microbial relationships in the diet, exploring food ingredients and resultant insect quality, assessing food chemistry, and evaluating environmental process controls used in the rearing process. An example is the diet development of tarnished plant bugs and western tarnished plant bugs: a sap-style diet for these mirids did not work, but a slurry diet rich in proteins and lipids reared continuous generations en masse.
Cohen recommends humane and ethical treatment of insects. Well-cared-for insects are of higher quality for many uses, from classroom teaching to field research. Other uses for insects discussed in Insect Diets include large-scale mass rearing for pest management systems, for the pet food industry, and for human consumption.
Allen Cohen has written a highly informative and useful book spanning a wide range of topics covering the complexity of rearing insects. This second edition expands on the important role of food science, provides insight into relationships between insects and microbes in artificial diets, and provides guidelines to successfully develop and evaluate artificial diets. He uses his own extensive years of experience in rearing insects, as well as references from noted insect rearing authorities, to provide a plethora of primary literature sources on insect rearing. Insect Diets, second edition, is an essential reference book for anyone interested in rearing insects.