Nina Kröncke receives Research Award from Bremerhaven University of Applied Sciences
Award for research activities in industrial insect rearing
Once again this year, Bremerhaven University of Applied Sciences presented the Research Award for outstanding research activities. For the first time, the focus was on scientists who are still at the beginning of their academic careers. Prof. Dr. Ulrich Sander, Chairman of the Association for the Promotion of Bremerhaven University of Applied Sciences, presented the award to Nina Kröncke for her research achievements in the field of automated breeding of insects and their further processing for food and feed production. "Ms Kröncke's work is characterised by a high level of application relevance and has generated a great deal of media interest. The high scientific quality of her work is also evidenced by numerous publications in renowned journals," said the jury's statement.
How can mealworms be raised industrially and thus used as an alternative source of protein in animal feed? This is what Nina Kröncke has been working on as a research assistant and doctoral student in the third-party funded projects "Breeding insects as feed for livestock" and "Preparation of insects by NIR expert system". "The disadvantages of common feedstuffs such as soy or fishmeal in animal feed are manifold. Therefore, a more environmentally friendly and sustainable alternative is being sought. Insects can contribute to this, as domestic and climate-friendly production with a regional value chain and residual material utilisation is possible and entails the conservation of existing natural resources," says Kröncke.
The research projects not only worked on an automated measuring system that can analyse the developmental stage of mealworms without killing them. The focus was also on feeding the insects. Among other things, it could be proven that mealworms pay attention to a balanced nutrient ratio in their diet. This affects their protein content. "The animals that consumed more protein also had a higher protein content themselves when analysed. This would mean that you can influence the composition of the insects with the feeding. This is an interesting finding for the feed industry. A high protein content in mealworms makes them an interesting alternative protein source," says Kröncke. Accordingly, the industry is very interested in cooperating with the researchers at the university.
Application-oriented research is very important at Bremerhaven University of Applied Sciences. It not only enables the development of new methods and the acquisition of new knowledge, but also research-based teaching and learning. To recognise special achievements in this area, the Research Award of Bremerhaven University of Applied Sciences has been offered since 2021. The prize, endowed with 1,000€, is donated by the Verein zur Förderung der Hochschule Bremerhaven e.V. (Association for the Promotion of Bremerhaven University of Applied Sciences).