Black Soldier Fly Production, Is It Effective- A Case Example with Recommendations
I am by no means an expert in life cycle analysis. So I will keep my comments to a minimum and allow you, the reader, to draw your own conclusions from the following article. But, I would like to say, while the topic is fairly intense with regards to the complexities of the analyses, the article is an easy read- just take your time with it. To help get you started.....Life cycle analysis allows for the assessment of the environmental impact of a given process.
The following article is a thorough evaluation of the impact of industrialized production (a case example) on the environment (good and bad). The article is straight forward and very efficient with clear conclusions from the analysis along with recommendations stated at the end of the paper.
Compliments to Alex Mathys and colleagues at ETH and Eric Schmitt at Protix for pulling together such a thorough study. Also, extended gratitude to Protix for opening up their process at a pilot plant to allow for such a critical study for the industry as a whole.
While the industry is still in its infancy- great strides have been made in its industrialization while being sensitive to environmental impacts and trying to have a positive influence. Hats off to the entrepreneurs globally committed to insect production and doing it the "right" way!
Sustainably...economical.... environmentally friendly!
Smetana, S., E. Schmitt, and A. Mathys. 2019. Sustainable use of Hermetia illucens insect biomass for feed and food: Attributional and consequential life cycle assessment. Resources, Conservation and Recycling 144: 285-296.
Some of the Major Finds:
Jeffery K. Tomberlin, PhD, Impressed
Compliments to the authors for pulling together so much information into one location.
Lamsal, B., H. Wang, P. Pinsirodom, and A. T. Dossey. 2019. Applications of insect-derived protein ingredients in food and feed industry. Journal of the American Oil Chemists' Society 96: 105-123.
A few highlights...
Protein Sources- This section set the tone for the paper as it reviewed protein and its value to society, current usages, and sources. I particularly found the discussion of plant based vs animal based protein of interest as it relates to conversion rates when these materials are consumed. The authors used this section to build the justification for insects as a protein source.
Protein Location- Some discussion I found particularly interesting was the overview provided on protein content of insects and the location of these proteins in the insects. The reason this section was particularly interesting to me is it emphasized not all protein can be extracted from insects and used. This limitation is partly due to the protein being bound in regions such as the exoskeleton.
Cultural Approval- A discussion of cultural acceptance of insect-based protein was also discussed (comparison between groups in Germany and China where the second group was more accepting of insects as food than the other). This topic pops up a few times as it remains a major challenge to the insects as food industry.
Terminology- The authors review the use of select terms, such as flour, as related to different sectors with the insects of food and feed industry. They suggest the use of some terms needs to be limited to specific aspects of the industry or avoided all together. For example, as with the term, flour, as it relates to plant-based material and could potential ruffle feathers of the wheat industry (much like the use of the term meat or milk).
Check out these links related to controversy of term use: Meat and Milk
Processing Considerations- A nice overview of how insects are processed today as related to industrial production. They authors discuss oven drying, freeze drying, and other techniques applied. They also discuss the limitations of these techniques as related to economics, efficiency, and quality assurance.
Product Development. A summary of the host of products that can be produced with insects was provided. This section included a table listing different items currently on the market. They also discuss the economics of some products as feed replacements. Fo example, they review articles that discussed replacing broiler diets with BSF-based meal and the positive data generated to date. Mainly, findings indicating replacing standard diets with BSF-based diets resulted in similar production levels and efficiencies (no negative impact on feed conversion or production). The same was determined in certain fish studies using insect meal as a feed.
Challenges to Industry. Primary hurdles faced by the industry that were discussed in the article are not surprising- How to increase production? How to insure quality and safety? The need to diversity products through new insects being explored for their use as food/feed as well as subcomponents of the insects that can be harvested to increase product diversity. I appreciate the authors urging greater continued research (something I enjoy- as you can imagine) and collaboration with industry.
Overall- A nice article that can bring a person up to speed with the industry globally.
Jeffery K. Tomberlin, PhD, Continuing Efforts to Expand Understanding
Continued Efforts to Demonstrate Use of Black Soldier Fly Meal as Feed in Aquaculture: Today's Study- Atlantic Salmon
Over the course of writing for this blog, I have had a few discussion pieces on insect meal as feed for the aquaculture industry. And, a lot of the discussion has revolved around select fish species. One fish produced in massive quantities and of interest to the BSF world is the Atlantic Salmon.
This paper, which is set to be published "officially" soon is now available online in preprint form. I recommend it as a reading for anyone interested in BSF meal as aquaculture feed. I cannot state this enough times- we need more studies like this one to continue to build support for the insect-farming industry while also making sure BSF meal is an appropriate feed in terms of economics, quality, and safety.
Belghit, I., N. S. Liland, P. Gjesdal, I. Biancarosa, E. Menchetti, Y. Li, R. Waagbø, Å. Krogdahl, and E.-J. Lock. 2018. Black soldier fly larvae meal can replace fish meal in diets of sea-water phase Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar). Aquaculture.
In this particular study, the authors used a diet ranging from 0 to 100% BSF meal in combination with fishmeal. They authors determined development was not impacted by the inclusion of BSF in the fish diet. Digestibility was similar across diets and fat content was not changed by including BSF meal.
Furthermore, a sensory study (e.g., taste test) of the fillets produced indicated "small" changes.
Odor and color of the fillets was not changed.
Flavor was not changed; however, there was an increase in rancid flavor (not significant). Texture of the salmon fed BSF meal were soft; however, once baked, they were considered harder than the control.
Overall, a very nice study. The figures included in the paper were quite impressive as well. So, if you have time- check it out.
Jeffery K. Tomberlin, PhD, Fish Consumer
I came across this summary paper from a conference discussing the ability of the BSF to convert such waste to insect biomass.
While personally not a huge tofu fan, it appears the BSF consume its waste with equal enthusiasm as with other organic waste streams. Not surprisingly- BSF larvae consumed it.
Anggraini, R., P. Yuliyarti, and Yusnina. 2018. The effect of percentage of tofu dregs as a medium grows against the number of maggot populations (Hermetia illucens). IOP Conference Series: Materials Science and Engineering 453: 012047.
This article is open access- so enjoy. But, a bit of patience as the writing is a bit raw. However, I applaud the authors efforts with such studies!
Jeffery K Tomberlin, PhD, Supporter of ALL research BSF
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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