Antimicrobial peptides in insects are naturally occurring molecules that can be found in almost any insect and multicellular organism. They have a wide range of functions and help to protect insects from bacteria, viruses, and a wide selection of other potentially harmful substances. These antimicrobial peptides are incredibly abundant in insects and are found in the tissues and cells of the creature. To this date, over 880 different types of antimicrobial peptides have been identified, and there are many reasons why farmers would want to learn more about this key component of insects. Today we’re going to learn more about the advantages of antimicrobial peptides and how insects can help animals from needing antibiotics in the future.
Key Advantages of Antimicrobial Peptides in insects
Antimicrobial peptides have a wide range of benefits and can assist both the insects themselves and animals that consume insects. With more farmers and pet owners looking for sustainable solutions for animal feed, insects are one of the options that are being considered more commonly. You’ll find that insects are now frequently added to animal and pet food, offering a sustainable source of protein as well as helping to avoid using antibiotics to treat infections and viruses. These are a few of the key advantages of antimicrobial peptides for animals and insects alike.
Stops the Growth of Microorganisms
Antimicrobial peptides can be used to act against any microorganisms. Other examples of antimicrobials include antibiotics which are used to fight bacteria and antifungals which are used to combat fungi. However, instead of having to rely on medication that may do more long-term harm than good, you’ll find this to be a natural solution to this issue.
Directly Kill Bacteria and Viruses
One of the top reasons for the presence of these proteins in insects is that they can kill bacteria, yeasts, and viruses. On top of that, they also target fungi and can potentially fight off cancer cells. While they offer this advantage to the insects themselves where they are present, it’s believed they might also offer this benefit when consumed by animals as well.
A Natural Solution Instead of Antibiotics
One of the key considerations and areas of research when it comes to antimicrobial peptides is how they can be used instead of antibiotics. We all know that antibiotics can have many side effects on animals, which is why many farmers are looking for natural solutions to offer their animals. Antimicrobial peptides are shown to have many advantages over traditional antibiotics, thanks to their antimicrobial activities, including anti-bacteria, anti-cancers, anti-viruses, and anti-fungi. They can even work to overcome bacterial drug resistance and should offer fewer toxic side effects. Still, more research into this area is needed, but it’s certainly an interesting potential solution for the future.
Counteract Antibiotic Resistance
The overuse and reliance on antibiotics in the past decades is considered to be one of the biggest threats to our public health system and animal population. Instead, companies are working to find sustainable solutions that can be used instead of these drugs, which has proven to be quite the challenge. Insects are one of the largest classes of organisms within the animal world, and therefore these insect peptides offer the chance to be used within the biomedical field. They are seen to offer a natural solution to the reliance on antibiotics, which with more research, we may be able to rely on further in the future.
Animals Fed With Insects Don’t Need To Get Antibiotics
You are no doubt aware that many animals are fed antibiotics, which are added to their animal feed or drinking water. While this can be used to fight infections or viruses, they are sometimes added purely to gain weight quickly or to use up less food to gain the required amount of weight. This is an area of much debate, and many farmers are still relying on antibiotics heavily to this day. However, when animals are fed with insects, they no longer need to get antibiotics, thanks to the presence of antimicrobial peptides in insects. While animals certainly need antibiotics to look after their health and fight off illnesses, it doesn’t mean that we need to rely on harsh antibiotics to experience this.
Antibiotics work to kill harmful bacteria and stop them from growing further, but as we discovered earlier, antimicrobial peptides in insects can do the same. Many farmers and researchers are starting to be concerned about the use of antibiotics within animals that are used for meat, as this can potentially be transferred in the future to humans by way of drug-resistant bacteria. The risk of transmitting drug-resistant bacteria is higher, and researchers are concerned that these bacteria will make their way from agriculture to human pathogens. Consuming insects offers so many great benefits to animals, but farmers will also appreciate offering their animals a more sustainable feed solution.
More insect-based animal and pet food used more in the upcoming years
We are likely to see insect-based animal and pet food used more in the upcoming years, and it offers many benefits to everyone involved. With concerns about our growing population mounting, the need to find more sustainable solutions that can easily be farmed and harvested is growing. Insects are an excellent solution that can assist with this issue, and they are easy to produce and farm in large quantities without taking up the vast amount of land that other feed solutions require.
Antimicrobial peptides in insects are a fascinating topic that we believe deserves a lot more attention than it’s currently receiving. In fact, with the increasing reliance on insect-based animal feed, we can only expect the number of animals needing to rely on antibiotics to decrease in the future. When they receive the benefits of antimicrobial peptides in their daily feed, they’ll no longer need to be fed additional antibiotics to fight bacteria and illnesses. Instead, they will have this natural source of defence in their daily feed, as well as enjoying a more sustainable solution that still offers them an excellent source of protein.