Insect frass and exuviae to promote plant growth and health

Barragán-fonseca, Katherine Y.; Nurfikari, Azkia; Van De Zande, Els M.; Wantulla, Max; Van Loon, Joop J.A.; De Boer, Wietse; Dicke, Marcel


Beneficial soil microorganisms can contribute to biocontrol of plant pests and diseases, induce systemic resistance (ISR) against attackers, and enhance crop yield. Using organic soil amendments has been suggested to stimulate the abundance and/or activity of beneficial indigenous microbes in the soil. Residual streams from insect farming (frass and exuviae) contain chitin and other compounds that may stimulate beneficial soil microbes that have ISR and biocontrol activity. Additionally, changes in plant phenotype that are induced by beneficial microorganisms may directly influence plant–pollinator interactions, thus affecting plant reproduction. We explore the potential of insect residual streams derived from the production of insects as food and feed to promote plant growth and health, as well as their potential benefits for sustainable agriculture.