Cricket Fertilizer: A New Option for Your Garden
STORY INLINE POST
The number of alternative proteins, such as cricket protein, is increasing on a daily basis due to consumer awareness of their nutritional and environmental importance. Crick Superfoods is a triple impact startup that is seeking to increase nutrition by offering the market clean-label food products, decrease environmental pollution by using both cricket powder and fertilizer made from cricket droppings to create a circular economy effect.
The environmental impact of breeding crickets is important due to its low consumption and demand for resources, use of space, and generation of CO2 (Peña & Reyes 2021) compared to other animal proteins. We use cricket powder as part of the raw material for our products because it is considered one of the most sustainable proteins based on its low impact on global warming: 70 percent less use of space, 80 times less CO2 than that produced with a cow. However, you might wonder what is the next step beyond the process to produce cricket powder? What can be done with the i residue?
We raise our crickets in a vertical farm environment, using technology to recreate their microclimate and control their reproduction and feed system. Once the crickets finish their life cycle, 40-45 days, they are slaughtered by separating them from their microclimate containers. Those boxes hold all the crickets’ droppings, which are deposited at the bottom. The droppings are collected and packaged as fertilizer for agriculture, allowing us to enforce our circular economy business model.
The cricket fertilizer that is collected, isn't 100 percent feces, but rather a mixture classified as “cricket litter,” which is 98 percent pure manure and 2 percent is a mix of shed cricket skins and some cricket feed (Ghann's Crickets 2008). This organic product isn't gross or sticky (Cricky 2017). In fact, it has a dry texture and a very mild smell. The product, which has no additives whatsoever, has different uses (Optimize Organics n.d.). It can be used in different types of agricultural activities, whether on a small, medium or large scale, in production activities or gardening based on its high content of mainly nitrogen (organic and ammonium) and significant percentages of Phosphorus, potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium, sodium and sulfur (Darby 2018; Izza et al. 2021). It provides a high content of chitin, biomolecules and beneficial microorganisms that help plants activate their natural defense systems, improving their immune and growth systems (Optimize Organics n.d.). Due to all these characteristics, cricket manure is currently being researched to demonstrate in detail its efficacy not just in the agriculture industry, but also as a biostimulant and biopesticide (Butnan & Duangpukdee 2021) because of the supply of primary and secondary micronutrients that it provides. It is pure organic matter that can improve the vitality and performance of plants and soil structure, positively stimulating the growth of microbial communities (Beesigamukama et al. 2022). Another important use currently being explored is to use it as a feed supplement in livestock and aquaculture (Cricket Frass 2021). The production of crickets opens the opportunity to explore the new ways of using not just the cricket protein powder as raw material for different food products but its droppings can also be used as a fertilizer for the agriculture industry
Understanding the secondary benefits of breeding crickets allows us to make the most of each element that can be obtained from this activity, using its waste in an effective and appropriate way, contributing to the environment and the economy of our country and contributing in a delicious way to our planet. Now that you understand this new food and environmental trend, what are you waiting for? Join our community. Join CRICK Superfoods!
In collaboration with: Carlos Picho-Paucar
Beesigamukama D., Subramanian S. & Tanga C. (2022). Nutrient quality and maturity status of frass fertilizer from nine edible insects. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-022-11336-z
Butnan S. & Duangpukdee J. (2021). Cricket frass: The high-quality organic fertilizer for vegetable growth Improvement. https://ag2.kku.ac.th/kaj/PDF.cfm?filename=84Soi02_P_Accepted-%E0%B8%88%E0%B8%B1%E0%B8%94%E0%B8%AB%E0%B8%99%E0%B9%89%E0%B8%B2.pdf&id=4430&keeptrack=1
Cricket Frass (2021). About AG Cricket Frass. https://agcricketfrass.com/about-ag-cricket-frass/
Cricky (2017). Cricket Frass is a must have fertilizer in every garden. https://cricky.eu/blog/cricket-frass-is-a-must-have-fertilizer-in-every-garden/
Darby H. (2018). 2017 Cricket Frass as a Potential: Nitrogen Fertility Source. https://www.uvm.edu/sites/default/files/media/2017_CricketFrassReport.pdf
Ghann´s Cricket (2008). CRICKETPOO ORGANIC FERTILIZER. https://www.ghann.com/Cricketpoo-Organic-Fertilizer-P50.aspx
Izza N., Abd I., Muzamil M. Harun A., Abdullah H., Abdullah H., Basir S., Yusop R. & Mohd M. (2021). The Effect of Cricket (Orthoptera: Gryllidae) Frass on the Growth of Leafy Vegetables. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/354776573_The_Effect_of_Cricket_Orthoptera_Gryllidae_Frass_on_the_Growth_of_Leafy_Vegetables
Optimize Organics (n.d.). Cricket Frass 7-4-3. https://www.optimizeorganics.ca/products/copy-of-optimize-organics-bat-guano-0-9-0-high-phosphorus-powder