Antibiotics & Black Soldier Fly: Trade-off Between Bioremediation and Protein Production
Apologies for the delay in my post. I just returned to the USA yesterday from Wageningen University where I participated in a summer course on the production of insects as food and feed. I enjoyed the course very much. The group of participants were really engaged, and I am confident they all will be successful with their research and business endeavors. I especially enjoyed our visit to Dr. Leen Van Campenhout, Project Director for Lab4Food at KU Leuven. A tremendous amount of research taking place in her lab through a group of excellent graduate students and postdocs.
On my flight back to the states, I had a chance (9 hours of thinking time) to decide what I wanted to highlight in this week's blog post. And, I selected a paper that discusses adulterants in BSF food and their impact on BSF production. In this case, it is antibiotics- specifically, sulfonamides (antibiotic).
Gao, Q., Deng, W., Gao, Z., Li, M., Liu, W., Wang, X., Zhu, F., 2019. Effect of sulfonamide pollution on the growth of manure management candidate Hermetia illucens. PLOS ONE 14, e0216086.
Major Findings of Paper:
1. BSF can degrade the presence of these compounds in a feed substrate. This news supports previous findings with other antibiotics. One thing to note is the mechanism of this process has not been completely sorted out. Some speculate it is the metabolism of the antibiotic by BSF, while other suggest it is the microbiome of the BSF that is responsible for the degradation process.
One thing to note with the study and something I encourage researchers to consider if they want to conduct similar studies is the compound was placed in solution and then mixed in with the feed. I would like to know how BSF respond to the by-products of metabolism of the antibiotics present in a substrate as that would be more "real-world." The point being, mixing antibiotics in with a feed is not really what takes place. However, the results from this study are not lessened in terms of value as they do provide some clue as to how BSF respond to such materials.
2. Concentration of the antibiotic in the feed is important. There is a threshold at which the compound impacts BSF development and production. However, while low concentrations did not impact BSF production- how they impact adults still needs to be examined (see next point).
3 While low levels of the antibiotic did mot impact BSF develop or resulting adult production, it is not known if these sublethal concentrations impact the ability of resulting adults to mate and reproduce- something that needs to be investigated.
4. Residuals of some antibiotics can be found in resulting BSF. This is a really important aspect for everyone to think consider. Basically, contaminants, such as antibiotics can be present in BSF produced. Such contaminants could result in your BSF product being of zero value as they could not be sold in many global markets.
Insects as Food & Feed in the News...
Insects as Food Industry Valued at $8 billion by 2030- Yes, you read this number correctly- $8 billon. This is the projected value for the insects as food sector.
Insect Meat- Potential and Reality- this article discusses work taking place at Tufts University. They published an article in Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems. You might check it out as it is a nice review of the topic.
Insects as Food- Another overview of the topics of insects as food and feed. I can't say anything new- but it is always good to have the message continuously put other there for others to read.
EVO Conversion Systems Received Award- Yes, a little self promotion. But, I am so proud of our team and the hard work invested to make our company a success. The Launch Award, which is presented by the Brazos Valley Economic Development Corporation, recognizes one company that has become established and demonstrated financial success. Here is what they state about the award:
"In determining the annual Launch Award winner, the BVEDC recognizes a company’s scale of operations since startup toward second-stage growth. The company must have demonstrated distinguished industry achievement of technology products and service that validates its potential. The company must have improved or transformed the region’s marketplace in target industry sectors, including advanced manufacturing, agricultural sciences, biotech, engineering, R&D and professional services."
Jeffery K. Tomberlin, PhD, Happy to have made new friends through the Wageningen Summer Course!
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Individuals with over 25 years research experience with the black soldier fly. We are passionate about the science behind the black soldier fly and its ability to convert waste to protein.
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