While tray and rack systems are able to successfully and efficiently rear hundred thousands mosquitoes per rack, manual daily application of the liquid feeding solution to larvae requires considerable time. To make the rearing process cost-efficient, and to standardize liquid feed application, Vienna Scientific developed the IR-401 / IR-402 automated tray feeding stations for the established FAO/IAEA-style mosquito tray and rack systems.
IR-401 / IR-402 Automatic tray feeding station, designed to deliver precise and consistent amounts of liquid feed to larvae rearing trays, reducing the labour required for feeding and minimising the risk of human error or contamination. The larvae feeders consist of three subsystems: i) Regulated up and down motion for precise fit of the nozzle system that injects the feed mixture, including an automated gauging system to adjust the position between trays,, ii) fully automatic feed injection system, driven by microstepping motors, with automatic infeed and outfeed system and uniform feed application on both sides of the trays; and iii) Agitator (to prevent sedimentation) and Pump System for the feed mixture - with a volume of 50 litres. The feeding station can be easily moved (on 4 wheels) and positioned in front of another rack to continue the feeding process. The feeding station is available in two standard configuration for 30 trays, IR-MMR-TR30 (IR-401) and XL racks with 50 trays (IR-402); contact us to discuss customisation. The feed reservoir (50 L, stirred) can be refilled while the system is operating, and both the reservoir and tubing systems can be easily cleaned / rinsed with water after use. The amount of feed can be adjusted. In summary, the IR-401 / IR-402 feeder allows precise and consistent amounts of feed to be delivered to the mosquito larvae, significantly reducing the labour required for feeding and minimising the risk of human error and tray contamination (as the feeder nozzles do not touch the trays).
|Mosquito Feeding Station
|Insect Feeding Station
With insect-based feeds already approved for pet food and aquaculture, becoming an effective and environmentally friendly on-site protein source for the animal feeds of the future, and a growing interest in supplementing human diets, the application of VSI's innovative liquid feeding technology to other insect rearing tasks is feasible with reasonable effort. Automatic feeding systems for solid feet dispension to insect production racks are under development. Contact us to discuss custom-made solutions for automated liquid or solid insect feed application.
|Automatic Mosquito Feeding Station
The versatility of the IR-401 / IR-402 system in mass rearing facilities has been tested and acknowledged by the IAEA, e.g. "improvements in the equipment necessary for easy handling (automation of the larval rack and addition of a feeding station) have greatly reduced the time, labor, space, and costs associated with rearing large numbers of mosquitoes" (Mamai et al., 2018).
At the IPCL in Seibersdorf, Austria, for example, Aedes larvae are supplied with a synthetic liquid diet (4% w/v; Puggioli et al. 2013, FAO/IAEA, 2017). This diet was developed to provide all essential nutrients required for optimal larval growth, including fatty acids, proteins, and vitamins. It is composed of a blend of powdered tuna meal (50%), bovine liver (36%), and yeast (14%). Due to variations in the availability and cost of diet components in different countries, locally available and inexpensive diets are however often used. For example, several research and release programs in Brazil, Mexico (Aedes aegypti; Bond et al., 2017), and Italy (Aedes albopictus; Puggioli et al., 2013) have used diet mixtures incorporating Friskies dry adult cat food (Nestle S.A., Switzerland) or rodent diets (PMI Nutrition International LCC, USA). The IAEA strongly recommends that the production of any diets follow standardized procedures to ensure that there is no contamination. In addition, a comprehensive assessment should be conducted to thoroughly evaluate the impact of each diet mixture on mosquito life history traits prior to its use in mass rearing.
To promote synchronized development, larvae diet is is administered at the IAEA laboratories daily from the start of rearing (IAEA/FAO 2020). For example, when using the IAEA large larval tray with 18,000 Aedes larvae, the amount of food provided per tray varies each day for the first nine days. The daily amounts at the IAEA are as follows: 50 mL, 100 mL, 200 mL, 200 mL, 150 mL, 50 mL, 50 mL, 50 mL, and 50 mL, corresponding to 0.11 mg, 0.22 mg, 0.44 mg, 0.44 mg, 0.33 mg, and 0.11 mg of ingredients per larva per day, respectively (Maiga et al., 2019). However, it is possible that different feeding regimens may be tested to ensure optimal quality and to achieve maximum pupation rates during the first few days. To prevent sedimentation of the liquid diet, it is essential to stirr the liquid diet vigorously before each application - which should be evenly distributed on both sides of each large rearing tray.
|Mosquito Mass Rearing / Dietary Requirements