Insect Biorefinery: Bioremediation and Frass Fertilizer for Sustainable Indigenous Vegetable Production

Published: 24 June 2024| Version 1 | DOI: 10.17632/dty7yt2j5k.1
Dennis Beesigamukama,


The data was collected from laboratory and greenhouse experiments conducted at the Animal Rearing and Quarantine Unit (ARQU) of the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (icipe), Kenya (S 01˚ 13’ 14.6’’; E 036˚ 53’ 44.5’’, 1,612 m above sea level). The lab experiments were used to determine P. ephipiatta frass fertilizer quality. Greenhouse experiment was established to assess the impact of P. ephipiatta frass fertilizer on vegetable production, in comparison with a commercial fertilizer. The data was collected between April and December 2029.


Steps to reproduce

Frass fertilizer production was conducted at the ARQU of icipe using P. ephipiatta larvae. The composting was conducted in four-litre rectangular plastic containers. One hundred 10-day old larvae were introduced into rectangular plastic containers containing 1 kg (dry weight) of cattle dung, and fed ad libitum until pupal stage when the larvae formed cocoons and stopped feeding. A known weight of fresh cattle dung was added whenever diet was exhausted. Exhaustion of the diet was indicated by formation of pellets; the pellets were removed before addition of fresh cattle dung. The quantity of cattle dung consumed up to pupal stage was used to determine waste degradation efficiency. The P. ephipiatta frass fertilizer obtained from the composting process was air-dried for 72 hours, pending use in greenhouse experiments for vegetable production. A greenhouse experiment was established to assess the impact of P. ephipiatta frass fertilizer on vegetable production, in comparison with a commercial fertilizer. The experiment consisted of two fertilizers: P. ephipiatta frass fertilizer (PEFF) and a commercial organic fertilizer, SAFI. The experiment consisted of nine treatments. The PEFF and SAFI fertilizers were applied at rates equivalent to 0, 25, 50, 75 and 100 kg N ha-1, to determine the most effective rate for optimal vegetable growth, yield and nutritional quality. These were denoted as 25PEFF, 50PEFF, 75PEFF and 100PEFF for PEFF treatments and 25SAFI, 50SAFI, 75SAFI and 100SAFI for SAFI treatments. The control treatment consisted of unfertilized soil. The experiment was conducted using 20 kg-poly pots and Amaranthus dubius as the test crop. The poly pots were filled with 20 kg of top soil obtained from icipe, and amended with respective rates of either PEFF or SAFI. Data was collected on plant lant height, leaf area and chlorophyll concentration were measured from five plants per pot that were randomly selected and tagged for repeated measurements at four, five, six and seven weeks after germination. Harvesting was carried out in the seventh week when the vegetables had attained maximum biomass. Part of the dried shoot samples were ground into fine powder using analytical mill, pending laboratory analysis to determine proximate and mineral composition. The concentrations of macro nutrients and dry shoot biomass were used to nutrient uptake in shoot biomass


International Centre for Insect Physiology and Ecology


Agronomy, Soil Science, Agricultural Entomology, Organic Fertilizer, Agriculture


Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research


Rockefeller Foundation

2021 FOD 030

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation


IKEA Foundation


HORIZON EUROPE European Innovation Ecosystems


Global Affairs Canada

BRIANS project: P011585