May 23, 2024

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Study: Insect-based diet shows health benefits in cats

2 min read

STOCKHOLM — Petgood, a sustainably-minded Swedish pet nutrition company, released a new study on the use of black soldier fly larvae (BSFL) in cat food formulas on April 17. Conducted in partnership with insect-based ingredient supplier Protix and Wageningen University & Research, the study details the nutritional benefits of BSFL meal for felines. 

The research paper, “Black soldier fly larvae meal in an extruded food: effects on nutritional quality and health parameters in healthy adult cats,” was published in the Journal of Insects as Food and Feed. The paper was authored by Guido Bosch, assistant professor at Wageningen University; Bruna Agy Loureiro, Ph.D., product development manager at Protix; Dirkjan Schokker, senior researcher at Wageningen Bioveterinary Research; Soumya Kanti Kar, Ph.D., senior scientist at Wageningen Livestock Research; Aman Paul, Ph.D., director of product R&D at Protix; and Nicky Sluczanowski, head veterinarian at Petgood. 

Researchers aimed to understand the effects, both on nutrition and health, of using BSFL meal in dry extruded cat food. The study involved feeding two dry extruded diets — one made with poultry meal and another made with 37.5% BSFL meal — to eight healthy adult cats in a cross-over design over two 28-day periods. The researchers examined food acceptance throughout the study, and also collected samples from the felines during the last seven days of each period, examining nutrient digestibility, fecal consistency, microbiota, blood chemistry and hematology. 

The BSFL cat food used was Petgood’s Adult Cat dry diet, which, in addition to BSFL, contains olive oil, inulin, cranberries, taurine, L-tryptophan, L-casein and oats to support skin and coat, gut, and urinary tract health, as well as other bodily systems.  

According to the study, Petgood’s BSFL diet offers high palatability as all cats readily accepted the food. Nutritionally, digestibility values for dry matter, organic matter, nitrogen and gross energy were much higher for the BSFL diet, compared to lower values of the poultry meat diet. 

Researchers also noted that the inclusion of BSFL meal resulted in an increase of short-chain fatty acids, biogenic amines concentrates and Bifidobacterium in stools, demonstrating a “profound” overall impact on cats’ intestinal microbial activity. 

“Overall, this study showed that a BSFL meal-based extruded dry food is readily accepted by healthy adult cats, yields optimal fecal consistency, had suitable nutrient digestibilities and can support their health when fed for 28 days with new leads for impact on feline gut health,” the researchers wrote. 

Read more from Petgood’s study here. 

Find more articles related to pet nutrition research.

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