Cricket frass and drought stress tolerance
When compared to conventional protein sources like pork, beef and chicken, crickets are a more eco-friendly option that demands less land and water to produce an equal amount of protein. In collaboration with Entomo Farms, a cricket farm located in Norwood, ON, the EATLab examined whether the use of cricket frass, a byproduct of cricket farming that contains organic matter, could improve the tolerance of green beans and tomatoes to drought stress as a soil amendment.
Drought is becoming an increasingly common threat to the agriculture industry, as prolonged periods of drought reduce crop yield. If cricket frass can mitigate drought stress to crops, it can offer a unique alternative to producers as synthetic fertilizers don’t help plants cope with drought.
Our results found that when added at a rate of 10 t/ha, cricket frass improved tolerance to drought stress in green beans during a six-day drought. This is likely the result of increased soil moisture in soil supplemented with frass. There was no improvement in drought stress tolerance in tomatoes, indicating that further research is necessary to explore the effect on additional horticultural crops.