Silkworm artificial diet

Roger K. Bernhardt silkmoth at
Sat Jan 20 07:50:53 EST 2001

After contacting Ms. Gazlay off list and at the risk of the appearance
of a commercial post, I have been encouraged by a respected member of
LEPS-L to respond to the difficulties associated with the use of
artificial diets in rearing _Bombyx mori_.
While environmental conditions may have played a small role in the
failure of the culture(s) reared on artificial diet described by Ms.
Gazlay, it is more likely that the problems are the result of mutations
and genetic factors affecting nutritional requirements, metabolism of
amino acids, lipids and carbohydrates, sensory apparatus, etc. Although
not fully understood, a recessive mutation actually stimulates bitter
taste receptors from components of artificial diet formulations and
causes larvae to an aversion from feeding, as described by Ms. Gazlay.
Additionally, there is quantitative (statistical) evidence that other
genes affect the ability to do well on various artificial silkworm
Beyond the complex traits thought to inhibit development, other aspects
for consideration include the visual presentation provided in the
demonstration of the insect's life cycle when artificial silkworm diet
formulations are used. For an amplification of our position on the use
of artificial silkworm diets, please see:
I hope the information is helpful.
Roger Bernhardt
Sericulum Co.
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