The field of insect mass rearing as food and feed or as products of biological control is developing rapidly and can improve dramatically utilizing the innovative capabilities of Israel. Mass rearing of insects relies greatly on nutritional composition of their diet. Understanding these nutritional requirements and their effect on insect physiology holds the promise to ripen into applied, efficient and sustainable solutions meeting the market demands.
Hence, my future research is aimed at:
1) Increasing product quantity – As mass rearing of insects is a relatively new enterprise, there is little accumulated knowledge regarding the optimal diet each farmed species (crickets, mealworms, others) requires to support its maximal productivity, as opposed to other livestock. Exhaustive study correlating nutrient composition to insects' efficient growth is in high priority. Such research will test artificial diets and their effect on the fecundity, survival, and population growth rates of the insects. Diets' ingredients choice, their processing methods and storage conditions all should be industry oriented – to stand the test of upscaling from lab bench to reactor.
2) Increasing product quality –The ambition to produce novel, competitive products in the world market can be accomplished by manipulating the product composition. For example, larvae of Black Soldier Fly (BSF) are grown for animal feed. Producing larvae with higher concentration of specific fatty acid will be a cutting edge product. This manipulation must be supported by innovative basic research such as next-generation sequencing and bioinformatics analysis to understand the insect's metabolic pathways, or gene manipulation of gene transcription using gene editing to produce over-expression of targeted nutrients.
In addition, most insects rely on symbiotic microorganisms to provide them with vital nutrients. Therefore, understanding (and possibly, boosting) these basic metabolic interactions is an essential stage for metabolic composition manipulation of the insects, therefore influencing their quality as food source.
2005 - B.Sc. in Life Science at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel
2008 - M.Sc. in Ecology at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel
2013 - Ph.D. in Ecology at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel
Academic and research positions:
2014 Postdoctoral position at Agricultural Research Organization, Neve Ya'ar, Israel
2015-2019 Research Scientist at the Agricultural Research and Development Station, Besor, Israel
2019- Today Teaching Fellow – Tel Hai College, Department of Animal Science
2019 - Today Investigator – Migal, Department of Nutrition