A little celebration of some recent events before discussing BSF: So, the past two weeks have been fairly hectic in my laboratory (FLIES Facility) at Texas A&M University as I had two PhD students defend (successfully). I could not be MORE proud and excited for Dr. Dongmin Kim and Dr. Chelsea Miranda. Dongmin studied microbe-insect interactions as related to the pathogen causing Buruli Ulcer and mosquitoes. Chelsea studied the ability of BSF and house fly larvae to digest poultry, swine, and dairy manure. They both did an excellent job. Dongmin is off to the University of Florida as a post-doctoral associate. And, Chelsea is going to continue working with me at Texas A&M University as well as at EVO Conversion Systems, LLC. It should be noted, I have had 29 students complete their graduate degrees under my supervision- Chelsea is my first BSF PhD and she has set the bar very high for future students.
BSF Paper in the Spotlight this Week: This paper represents the third by Dr. Barragan-Fonseca that I have reviewed on this forum. This publication, much like the previous two (one of which was her dissertation) is an excellent study of BSF. It also highlights the importance of balancing nutrition fed to BSF larvae.
Barragan-Fonseca, K. B., G. Gort, M. Dicke, and J. J. A. van Loon. Effects of dietary protein and carbohydrate on life-history traits and body protein and fat contents of the black soldier fly Hermetia illucens. Physiological Entomology 0.
When I read studies such as this one, I often wonder how companies that work with highly variable food waste overcome this hurdle of variable nutrients result in variable BSF larval output. I would imagine they have set the basic parameters of the nutrient description in their products at minimums so as to meet country/regional regulations. But, I would also think such variability, if it exists, impacts who will use their products- especially poultry or fish producers as they tend to be very specific with their nutritional requirements for their mass production facilities. Regardless, the take-home message is: pay attention to what you feed your larvae as it will impact their development and production.
Insects in the News!
Insects as Food- a discussion with Professor Arnold van Huis. A general article about insects as food but it also expands into mass production and the associated challenges.
Edible Insect Festival. My friend and colleague, Joseph Yoon is back in the news. He does such a great job for the industry with spreading the word on insects a real food source that can be quite elegant when prepared by a skilled chef.
BioMar sees Potential of Insects as Feed. A short story on the work done by BioMar to develop insects as fish feed.
Jeffery K. Tomberlin, PhD, Proud Advisor
As you noted, there is a question in my title- I wanted to draw your attention to the regulations currently implemented in the European Union (EU) on the use of BSF as a feed (I'm savvy like that).
Today, I am presenting a paper by my colleagues and friends in the Netherlands. The aim of the paper was to evaluate literature published up to 2017 on the use of BSF to convert materials to protein. They also present current legal status of insect-feeding options in the EU. So, if you are interested in mass production of BSF and selling your product in the EU- this article is a definitely a great resource.
The basic conclusion from this article is the use of BSF to recycle wastes can be beneficial to the environment. The recycling of waste materials reduces potential pollutants; however, this benefit was dependent on what was being fed to the BSF larvae.
The authors present a number of valuable tables outlining the studies reviewed. These tables include, but are not limited to, dry matter reduction based on resource, nitrogen reduction based on resource, environmental impact as related to global warming potential (GWP), energy use to produce, and a comparison with traditional feeds, such as soybean meal and fishmeal.
Bosch, G., H. H. E. van Zanten, A. Zamprogna, M. Veenenbos, N. P. Meijer, H. J. van der Fels-Klerx, and J. J. A. van Loon. 2019. Conversion of organic resources by black soldier fly larvae: Legislation, efficiency and environmental impact. Journal of Cleaner Production 222: 355-363.
Insects as Food and Feed in the News!! I thought I would try this small addition to the blog a few more weeks. If well received, I will continue doing so.
Edible insects' boost food sustainability, but will consumers eat BBQ-flavored bugs? Nice article out of UK, I believe, discussing the benefits of insects as food. Pay attention- at the bottom of the article is a link to a more in-depth discussion of the topic.
Insects: The Other (other) White Meat? I enjoyed this article a lot. First, it made a reference to the Philip K. Dick classic book adapted to film, Bladerunner (although they referenced the sequel... but I understand why). And second, the author presents a case that insects as food is not as crazy as it sounds when you consider what other interesting items people consume fairly regularly... well.. some of them anyway (font in maroon for the one I suspect is the lead item consumed):
Business Article on AgriProtein out of South Africa. A nice article highlighting the successes of AgriProtein- worth the read... images are pretty cool!
Global Economy, an Example: Jiminy & Ento Work Together to Produce Crickets as Food. A nice read about two companies worlds apart working together. This article has some nice photos as well.
Jeffery K. Tomberlin, PhD, Sci-Fi enthusiast (you should definitely read Philip K. Dick)
Increasing Black Soldier Fly Egg Production along with a New Section Added to the Blog- Insects in the News
As you know, through this blog I have been reviewing the literature published on the black soldier fly. Initially, I focused on the older literature from the late 20th century (yes, I phrased it that way to make it seem like it was a life-time ago) and more recently I have been posting literature as it is published.
Well, I plan to continue doing so- discussing the literature; but, I wanted to add a new section.... something that I would like to have as a weekly occurrence- "insects in the news". The point of this new section is to give you something a little more "light" in terms of reading, or listening in some cases, in combination with the more dense science articles. Of course, the frequency of my posting on such topics will depend on the frequency in which such information is discussed in the news. So, in order for me to be comprehensive I am going to depend on you- the reader. Please feel free to send me anything on insects as food and feed that you come across. You can send it to me through the EVO facebook page or this blog. If I see it, I will discuss it here.
Focus Article This week:
Bertinetti, C., A. C. Samayoa, and S.-Y. Hwang. 2019. Effects of feeding adults of Hermetia illucens (Diptera: Stratiomyidae) on longevity, oviposition, and egg hatchability: Insights into optimizing egg production. J Insect Sci 19.
Interesting article focused on feeding adults to increase production. The authors provided adult BSF with different substrates (e.g., milk powder mixed with water- think porridge) to determine the impact on egg production. Based on their results, they increased egg production 3X!!! Also, it should be noted, hatch rate remained relatively constant across treatments. So yes, they increased egg production without sacrificing hatch rate. I have tried to replicate their results with little success to date- however, I plan to continue working with the system to determine if I can get similar results.
If this system proves true- what a great opportunity for optimizing BSF production! Because as we all know, egg production and hatch rate are major bottlenecks with BSF production.
Insects in the News!
Organic Certification of Insects Farms: Feed as an Issue lays out support through the organization, International Platform of Insects for Food and Feed (IPIFF). I have been impressed with the streamlined, efficient, and focused approach IPIFF has taken to developing the insects as food and feed industry. However, while the title indicates international, I am curious as to how their position reflects global interests in the industry as it appears to be more of an European Union perspective. Maybe their name should be the EUPIFF? I digress... I should be discussing the article, right? The article lays out three interesting components of insect farming as related to the topic.
Food Mondays: Are Insects the Food of the Future? This is a radio show out of Chicago. If you have 15 minutes- it's worth a listen. The topic is much more broad than BSF- as they discuss crickets as well. Pretty good show. I enjoyed it.
8 Insect-Based Pet Food and Animal Feed Startups. Definitely an interesting read- many of the top companies globally are discussed in the summary. The authors point out the volatility of the industry but also recognize the potential for the industry to solidify itself globally. Great to see Beta Hatch out of the USA made the list!
The Explosion of Insect Protein. A great read about the basic drivers of the insects as food and feed industry. For anyone that is aware of the global need for protein while protecting the environment- worth the few minutes investment to read the article. Hats off to EXO and Chapul for being part of the discussion.
Add Crunch to to Purdue Spring Fest. I enjoyed reading this article for a couple of reasons- yes, insects as food is cool. But,I really like the out-reach approach to educating others on the use of insects as food and feed. My hope is all companies in the industry develop an outreach arm of their business. Educate the public and create customer demand... Even better, invest in the education of our youth and future customers will be established. As a side note- I like reading articles about my good friends and colleagues, Joseph Yoon of Brooklyn Bugs, and Andrea Liceaga of Purdue University.
Jeffery K. Tomberlin, PhD, experimenter with blogging
Shotgun Announcement: Black Soldier Fly as Feed for Quail and Swine, BSF Digestion of Cellulose, and Continued Expansion of Research Globally
Lots of papers have recently come out on BSF.... here are the highlights (Think David Letterman top ten list but not 10 items... just 5 items).
1. BSF at 10% inclusion can be used as quail feed!! Yes- it works. :) Could be something of interest to the quail industry in the southern USA where quail (if same species) are produced in colony.
Hermetia illucens larvae reared on different substrates in broiler quail diets: effect on apparent digestibility, feed-choice and growth performance
2. BSF at 10% inclusion can be used as swine feed!! Supports previous research published on this topic many decades ago.
Partially defatted black soldier fly larva meal inclusion in piglet diets: effects on the growth performance, nutrient digestibility, blood profile, gut morphology and histological features
3. Here is another paper discussing the ability of BSF to digest cellulose (which is huge- but needs more work to determine efficiency and how to optimize the process).
Rehman, K. u., R. Ur Rehman, A. A. Somroo, M. Cai, L. Zheng, X. Xiao, A. Ur Rehman, A. Rehman, J. K. Tomberlin, Z. Yu, and J. Zhang. 2019. Enhanced bioconversion of dairy and chicken manure by the interaction of exogenous bacteria and black soldier fly larvae. J Environ Manage 237: 75-83.
4. BSF can be used to digestion food waste in Ghana. Something to keep in mind- when dealing with "food waste", it would be good to be as quantitative as possible with regards to defining the food waste- what is it? What is its composition?
Development of Black Soldier Fly, Hermetia illucens (Diptera: Stratiomyidae) in Selected Organic Market Waste Fractions in Accra, Ghana
5. Not BSF-related but pretty cool study on composting aquaculture waste- I thought you might find it interesting.
Composting as a strategy to recycle aquatic animal waste: Case study of a research centre in São Paulo State, Brazil
Jeffery K. Tomberlin, PhD, Presenter of cornucopia of research topics
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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