Engineered Insect Tissue as a Food Source

Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems - Rubio NR, Fish KD, Trimmer BA, Kaplan DL

Type: Research Paper
Knowledge level: Advanced

Farm Table says:

Food for thought about alternative protein sources for the future – this review setting is primarily lab based, but may get the creative juices flowing in a changing environment.

What is the research about?

Current industrial livestock and other agricultural practices can be cause for significant environmental concerns and consumption of resources. In this review, Rubio et al. (2019) summarise studies relating to insect cell cultures as a promising avenue to address some of these issues as well as provide some comparisons with traditional animal tissues.

What are the key findings?

Some key food production areas of research are:

  • cell sources,
  • growth media,
  • scaffolding biomaterials and
  • bioreactor design.

This review summarises work in insect cell cultures as a viable way of addressing those needs listed above.

As well as comparing with mammalian and avian cell cultures, Rubio et al. (2019) discuss various properties of insect cells and their suitability for use in food production systems.

The use of insect cell culture for food production will require fewer resources than other animal tissues while being more adaptable to environmental risks.

Final comment

The authors identify and discuss the use of large-scale insect cell culturing as a viable animal tissue alternative for addition to the food production mix.

Environmental benefits are suggested and potential reductions in resources requirements and production costs are outlined.


This paper was summarised by Luke Stafford (Bachelor of Biological Sciences with Honours – Botany and Genetics Majors (La Trobe University) and reviewed by Nickala Best (PhD Student (La Trobe University). Learn more about Luke and Nickala here.

2019 - United States - Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems - Rubio NR, Fish KD, Trimmer BA, Kaplan DL
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