The Department of Agricultural, Forest and Food Sciences (DISAFA) performs research to deliver knowledge and innovation, and provide evidence-based sustainable solutions to current and future challenges. DISAFA has a strong experience on animal husbandry and animal nutrition as well as on product quality.

In particular, in the fish nutrition sector, DISAFA researchers have a particular experience on the use of alternative protein sources (insect, poultry by-products and vegetable meals) and lipid sources in aquafeed and their effects on growth, digestibility, product quality, intestinal health, microbiota and metabolic responses of freshwater fish species.

Other expertise are related to the methods of fish slaughtering as well the effect of stocking densities on welfare of fish reared under organic aquaculture rules.

DISAFA offers two installations:

1) UNITO-DISAFA-AQUA – fish nutrition platform

2) UNITO-DISAFA-INSECTS (Insect rearing farm).

UNITO- DISAFA-INSECTS (Insect rearing farm)

Infrastructure: UNITO- DISAFA-INSECTS (Insect rearing farm)

Location: Carmagnola, ITALY

Web site address: en.disafa.unito.it/do/home.pl/View?doc=/research/experimental_centers/agricultural_and_livestock_experiment_station_Tetto_Frati.html

Contact: Laura Gasco (laura.gasco@unito.it)


DISAFA-INSECTS is the experimental facility for insect trials. The facility consists in 2 separated sectors: one for Hermetia illucens and one for Tenebrio molitor.

The Hermetia illucens sector is divided into (i) Reproduction room with controlled environmental conditions (Light, T°, RH) where the adult colony is maintained and eggs production performed. (ii) Hatching and weaning climatic chamber (2*1*2.5 m), where eggs hatch and the first 5-6 days of insect larvae growth is performed. The climatic chamber has controlled environmental conditions (T° and RH) that can be changed according to trial protocols. (iii) Larvae growing climatic chamber (2.9*6.5*2.9 m): where 6 days-old larvae are grown till the prepupae (o pupae) stage. The growing chamber has controlled environmental conditions (T°, ventilation, light) that can be set according to trial protocols.

The Tenebrio molitor sector consists in one room with controlled environmental conditions where both reproduction and growth are performed.

All sectors are available for TNA users.

DISAFA-INSECTS is located in Carmagnola, 25 km from Turin.

Services currently offered by the infrastructure

DISAFA-INSECTS is a unique experimental facility able to conduct trials using different rearing substrates for both Hermetia illucens and Tenebrio molitor, which are two of the most promising species for aquaculture feeds.

At the end of the rearing process, performed on different protocols, trout digestibility trials can be performed to assess nutrients digestibility of the insect meals produced.

In addition to the above, technical support for daily experimental work and technical help for samplings will be provided to all users. In case of specific needs, DISAFA scientists using the infrastructures can assist users for experimental design and data interpretation.

In the period when the visiting scientist is not at the facility the experiment will be followed by the technicians at DISAFA in close interaction with the visiting scientist. The visiting scientist can be updated about the experiment through skype calls or live web chat.

Modality of access

Depending on the insect species, each user is expected to stay:

• about 20 days, typically the average length of a full growing trial with Hermetia illucens;

• about 10 days, with Tenebrio molitor, typically 5 at the beginning of the experiment to finalize the technical protocol details and 5 days at the end of the experiment for final measurements and sampling.

The access includes the use of the facilities and the support of trained and experienced researchers. Skilled technical staff will carry out the day-to-day trial ongoing.

TNA user will be strongly integrated in all processes, from trial set up to trial ongoing, sampling, data recording, due analyses and assessment, and preparation and dissemination of results.

Unit of access

One unit of access for the DISAFA-INSECTS is defined as one container-substrate and a typical access consists of 18 units of access (6 containers per 3 substrates).

One unit of access includes: insect larvae supply, substrate preparation, daily maintenance and measurements, routine sampling and biometric measurements, conservation of samples, access to an office with internet communication, larvae freeze-drying and analyses. Specific substrates should be provided by user.

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